Thursday, October 30, 2008

A word from your sponsors...

Living in California, jen and I are deeply affected by one of the propositions this year. There are a lot of people trying to pass Prop 8, which will eliminate our right to get married if we ever choose to do so. Not cool...right?  

I know I mentioned it in a previous blog, but as we're getting closer to the election, jen and I started feeling more and more like we should do something. We've donated money. We've attended fundraisers. We've talked to our friends and family. Jen's been phone-banking. I sport my "I heart civil liberties" shirt around town.  

But it still didn't feel like we were doing enough. So last week we got an idea. "Let's make a video!" Now I haven't edited in years. Actually, I don't think I've even taken my video camera out of its case in years, which is truly a shame because I used to have such a passion for making home videos. Growing up I drove my friends and family crazy always having a camera in their face. But I guess now that I work in the industry, I have taken up other hobbies to escape the media in my free time. But the thought of making THIS video really reignited my passion.

It reignited it so much, we went out and bought a new computer over the weekend, new editing software, and came up with a concept for our video. We shot it Monday night.  I couldn't even sleep that night I was so excited to get started editing. I worked vigorously Tuesday and Wednesday night to get it finished in time to upload it before people started voting. We were both so inspired by the situation and felt so proud when we posted it to YouTube this morning. 


We've gotten so much positive feedback. Numerous people have told us that it made them tear up. And when we were eating dinner tonight, Francy, our neighbor and friend, knocked on the door and was bawling when we answered it. She had just watched the video and was so proud of us and couldn't wait to forward it to her family and friends in California. I still can't get over how our little video is affecting people. It's truly heartwarming. 

I personally had a hard time posting the video at first. After it all came together, it was so personal. People would see things about us. See our lives. See how upset we are about this proposition. But then, that's the point right? Getting our message heard. Making it personal. And as of tonight, we've gotten 260 views on YouTube! So, if you subtract the 20 times that I'm sure jen watched it, that leaves 240 people that we urged to Vote NO on Prop 8...all because of a girl...a dream...and a video camera. 

And now that we've caught the bug, you can expect more videos from us in the future. Turns out we've got plenty to talk about...and at least 240 people that want to listen. 

*Addendum...we're up to 329 now!  And jen promises it wasn't her.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Soup, there it is...

So in honor of one of my favorite SNL skits, I thought I would do a blog about soup. I love soup. Jen loves soup. Justin Timberlake loves soup. Obviously, so should you.

Recently, jen got her wisdom teeth pulled, so being the good nurse that I am, I gathered up all my amazing soup recipes to prepare for her week sans solid food.

She's doing much better by the way...

So two of jen's favorite foods, believe it or not, are spinach & zucchini. So first, I'll share this delicious and easy recipe I made to ease her pain.
Spinach & Zucchini Soup

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
big pinch of salt
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
2 medium zucchini, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
4 handfuls fresh spinach leaves

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil, then add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes along with a big pinch of salt - just until they soften up a bit. Stir in the potatoes and zucchini. Add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft throughout, roughly 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, and wait for it to wilt - just 10 seconds or so.

Puree with a hand blender until smooth.

Now salt to taste and serve with a spoonful of our absolute favorite addition to any bowl of soup...light sour cream.
It's so easy and delicious...we promise! Cook it on a Sunday night, and you can take it to work for lunch all week. It's a great way to get your daily dose of greens, and watch the waistline if you're so inclined.  


Next, I'm going to post two soup recipes that I love making because of all the compliments I get. Seriously, I'm a hit at parties when I show up with my aroma-friendly crock pot. Now that fall is upon us, you MUST try these soups!


Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup

4 cups fat-free vegetable stock
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup canned sweet corn kernels
3/4 cup salsa
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Optional toppings:  shredded low-fat cheese, light sour cream, chopped scallions

Spray a medium pot with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat on the stove. Place garlic in the pot. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add stock and spices, and bring to a simmer. 

Add pumpkin and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. 

If you like (and we do!), top each cup with any of the optional ingredients before serving. This soup is packed with fiber and incredibly healthy.  How can you resist?


Winter Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 medium-size sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the sweet potatoes, squash, stock, thyme, and sage; season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook on Low for 6 hours. 

Puree the soup in a blender (or with a handy-dandy hand blender like me!). Taste to adjust the seasonings, and serve hot. 

*Warning...this soup will seriously make your house smell delicious for days!  Just ask jen...


Now, just so you all know...I didn't JUST make soup for a week.  Jen also got to indulge in this delicious smoothie I learned how to make: 

1 ripe medium banana
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
3/4 cut skim milk
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed ice

Just put it all in the blender and puree until it's smooth and YUMMY!  


So those are a few of my favorite recipes. Enjoy! And please let me know how they turn out if you give them a try. 

I'm off to eat because now I'm STARVING!!! 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grass is overrated...

Seriously. Who needs a lawn to be political these days? When I left for work the other morning, I opened the back door to discover that jen had posted our Obama lawn sign for all to see. Well, when I say "all," I actually mean the 6 people that walk their dogs past our back door, and the annoying little girl who rides her bike back and forth, back and forth, back and forth upsetting Katie and Bodhi to the fullest extent. But if our little sign has impacted just one of those 7 people, then we have done our part.  

We also passed some Pro-bama graffiti the other day in the Wilshire district.

I guess those people, just like us, have discovered how easy it is to work with what 'cha got.  

Monday, October 13, 2008

I've taken up tagging!

I love my iPhone for many, many reasons. But my new favorite reason is that it led us to Shazam!  Shazam is an application you can download that basically identifies music for you.  I love products that make me feel like a Jetson, so I thought I'd share.  

Elizabeth was the first to tell us about Shazam.  We were at a party and she was raving about it.  "I don't get it" I exclaimed.  And then she held her iPhone in the air, much like John Cusack in Say Anything, and pushed "Tag Now."  The phone literally listened to the song that was playing on the radio, and after 15 seconds, told us what it was.  It listed the name of the song, the artist, and linked us to iTunes where we could then purchase the song if we were so inclined.  "Wow! I've got to get that!"  

So I did.  I downloaded the application that night for FREE and have been hooked ever since.  I love that moment when Jen and I are in a store and we hear a song that we like.  I'll say, "man I love this song.  I wonder what it is..."  And then there's a slight pause...we both look at each other...and at the same time shout out "SHAZAM!"  We then hurry to pull out my iPhone and "tag" the song.  

Shazam has led us to the new Pink song So What.  You must buy it now!


And we've discovered new artists like Meiko & Kings of Leon by using Shazam.  I'm telling you...this shit is bananas...b-a-n-a-n-a-s.  (If you Shazam'd that, you'd know I'm quoting Gwen Stefani.)  

So you want it now, right?  Well I don't think you need an iPhone to get it.  Just go to the website and check it out.  I will warn you that there are times when Shazam has let us down.  It's not that great at identifying obscure NPR songs. And when Christine tried singing to it, it didn't work. (Although, that was a long shot.)  So download it, and let me know what you think!  

Until then, I'll just be taggin' away over here...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Celebrity sightings.

Or perhaps I should say, "
celebrity" sightings.

I just returned from the Starbucks on Wilshire at La Brea and who was there in front of me? None other than Analeigh, from the current season of America's Next Top Model!

It was cool to see her, but i was more excited about my Pinkberry Sorbetto...


My sighting on Monday night at my local L.A. Fitness (the one on Cahuenga), was pretty good.
B-list good.
L Word good.

Dana, you live on forever in our hearts... and apparently in our North Hollywood gyms.

She looked smokin' in grey workout pants and an orange t-shirt.
In case you were wondering.
(And at least one of you was.)

So now i'm left wondering... do celebrity sightings come in threes
like celebrity deaths?

And if so, can i
please spot an A-lister?!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

National Stay At Home Week...

So being the rebels that we are, jen and I decided to plan the busiest week of our summer on National Stay At Home Week.  We missed a lot of great TV, but we sure did have a lot of fun in the process. Wednesday started off the marathon with the long-awaited So You Think You Can Dance Tour.  We had gotten tickets months ago, and were SO excited to finally see our SYTYCD'ers live on stage.  It was our first time at the Nokia Live in Downtown LA.  What a great venue!  We got to see all our favorite dances from Season 4 performed again.  Joshua and Katee lit up the stage.  Gev made us laugh.  And Will stole our hearts once again.  We also finally found out the real meaning behind "4-Real."  

Christine and Michelle met us for the show.  It was so great to share the experience with them after watching all the episodes together this summer over fondue and Michelle's infamous chicken wings.  Jen had so much fun Wednesday night that she has been practicing her new moves ever since.  

We truly can't wait for next summer. 
Season 5 baby!!! 


Neil Diamond at the Hollywood Bowl

Thursday night, we TIVO'd the debate and headed to the Hollywood Bowl to see the one and only, Neil Diamond. Helen had gotten a bunch of us tickets earlier in the summer, and we're so glad she did.  Neil's voice is incredible.  It soothes me.  Seriously.  He was very engaging and fun to watch.  He did all his old standards, and even some songs from his new album.  

Unfortunately,  I didn't take my camera that night.  (so unlike me!)  But if I had, you'd see a wonderful picture of Helen & Sarah drunk and eating pastries...Claudia & Nancy singing along to every word...and jen and I holding up the phone for Caroline during, yes, you guessed it, Sweet Caroline.  


Rachel Getting Married Screening

So after 8 years of producing in L.A., I finally joined the Producers Guild of America (aka The PGA.) (No has nothing to do with golf.)  Being a member of the PGA has lots of being that you get to attend lots of free screenings.  So when I got my first invite for Rachel Getting Married, I jumped at the chance.  I was allowed to bring guests, so Caroline and Amanda met up with Jen and me at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.  

I have to admit, when I heard the title of this movie, I assumed it was going to be one of my beloved chick flicks about a wedding.  Boy was I wrong.  I won't ruin the movie for those who haven't seen it, but it deals with the struggles of an addict who leaves rehab to attend her sister's wedding. If you think your family is dysfunctional, watch this movie. It will make you feel better about yourself.  Promise.  

We all had our own opinions about the movie, but one thing we agreed on was how uncomfortable it made us feel.  To me, that's a good thing.  I love it when a movie can spark such an emotion.  I get stuck in a rut of watching movies that either make me sad or happy.  I sometimes forget that there are other emotions out there that need to be stimulated once in a while.  

Overall, I recommend seeing it once.  Once will be enough.  



So Disneyland was having their annual (unofficial) GayDays this weekend.  Basically, if you're gay or support the gays, you wear a red shirt to the park.  (Funny story...Ramdath, Helen & I went a few years back on accident.)  But this year it was planned, and highly anticipated!  

Now jen and I go to Disneyland way more than the average American.  Like once-a-month more.   You might say it's our happy place.  It never gets old, and every trip brings new adventures.  We spent most of Saturday with jen's co-worker Adam, and his friend Milton.  We had a blast!  Especially on Splash Mountain, which is quite obvious from the picture.  

It was the first time jen had seen The Haunted Mansion decorated for Halloween/Christmas.  I kicked her butt on Buzz Lightyear, but then she made me eat my words on Toy Story (as did everyone else in our group).  After the sunset, and discovering we could avoid the long line on Soarin' by becoming "Single Riders," we headed to The Lost Bar at the Disneyland Hotel to meet up with Jonathan and the gang.  

After a few drinks, and the realization that Katie hadn't peed in 9 hours, we decided to hit the road.  We planned on going back on Sunday, but after the busy day we had (which you'll read about next) we simply couldn't make it.  Plus, I didn't have another red shirt.  


NoHo Arts Festival

Our week came full-circle on Sunday when I discovered that a SYTYCD choreographer, Shane Sparks, was going to be judging a dance contest at the NoHo Arts Festival about a mile from our home.  So after a lovely breakfast, jen and I walked down to check out the scene.  It was a cute festival, and we had a blast watching the kids in the contest pop and lock, etc. Shane Sparks ended up being 5'2", which neither of us were expecting.  

After the dance contest, some art/photography browsing, and fro-yo indulging, we followed the crowd to XMA.  Xtreme Martial Arts is a studio in NoHo that was putting on quite a show.  I wish you could tell from this picture that there's a little 8-year-old kid doing a triple-flip through the air. If you're ever in NoHo, you've got to check this place out. Watch a class through the window.  We were truly enthralled.   


So that concludes my essay on what I did this "National Stay At Home Week."  
Now we're off to catch up on some much-needed zzzzzzzzzzzzz's.  

(oh, and Labor Day Weekend Part III is coming...I swear!)
(obviously, I've been a little busy.)