Chocolate Delights

While shopping online for some bachelorette staples (i.e. penis cupcake pan) for my friend’s upcoming party, I came across this wonder:

clone a willyApparently it’s a great gift to get your bride-to-be friend for her wedding night:

With this Chocolate Clone-A-Willy kit, your bride can worship her man while enjoying a tasty treat! Each kit includes everything you need to make an exact milk chocolate replica of your favorite penis. In 4 easy steps this kit will make her wedding night truly unforgettable!

Yes, who can forget the time you pulled out the Clone-A-Willy in the heat of the moment and said ‘hold that thought while I make a chocolate replica of your dick.’  Honestly my biggest problem with this gift (aside from the obvious creepiness of making an edible version of someone’s wang) is that it’s milk chocolate.  Seriously.  If you’re gonna go there, use dark chocolate.

If if this elementary-school-arts-and-crafts-looking chocolate thong (for him) is any indication, I’m guessing the Clone-A-Willy is a waste of $29.95:

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Too Much Fun

This past week I was graced by the awesome presence of  my friend Kai, who lives in Seattle.  Though she’s one of my favorite people from college, I hadn’t seen her since my wedding, which was nearly a year ago, and before that it had been about two years.  Despite the long gaps between visits, we always manage to revert to our singing-in-the-car, Boons-drinking, home-cooking, beer-swilling college selves when we’re around each other.  

(G and Kai):

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We commemorated the occasion by eating pay-per-ounce frozen yogurt:

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drinking beer (that’s me and G):

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and chilling with baby goats on my friend’s farm in Marin:

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It was a fun few days, but in spite of not having to balance the fun with any actual work, I’m utterly exhausted.  Today after I dropped Kai off at the airport, I took a two hour nap, which I’m only successfully able to accomplish about twice a year.  I guess drinking and socializing more in the past four days than you have in the past six months will do that to you, but I also just think I’m getting older.  Ugh.  Despite being old and lame, hanging out with my college clan did me a world of good.  There’s nothing quite as right for the soul as singing along to Nancy Sinatra or Outkast  at the top of your lungs while driving and eating six flavors of frozen yogurt with your best lady friends.  The perfect way to spend my time off from school… speaking of which, summer semester starts tomorrow!

Down South

This weekend, we packed the dogs into our car and headed down to the peninsula to meet up with some SoCal friends who were in town for a concert.  They were staying at a Kimpton hotel down there with their two dogs, so we decided to join them for a night.  If you have dogs and can afford a mid-range hotel (they have good deals on the weekends because they serve mostly the business crowd) you’ve got to check the Kimpton hotels out.  There were a plenitude of details to warm the dog lover’s heart:5.24.09 001And a million other reasons to enjoy your stay, such as free scented poop bags.  This was our first time staying at a “luxury” (read: Marriott-like) dog-friendly hotel.  There were pups riding elevators and coming in and out of the automatic doors.  It felt like we were at some kind of canine convention, except for the fact that there was also a wedding going on that night, which apparently had nothing to do with dogs.

Our pups seemed to make themselves right at home:

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Nina enjoyed the hotel-provided dog bed:

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The next day, we went over to my old stomping grounds… the hills of Cupertino/Los Altos.  All four dogs went for a swim in Stevens Creek Reservoir:

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And then Ted and I drove about ten minutes to Los Altos so I could show him the house where I grew up (from 1986-1996):

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I like going down the suburbs, especially when it involves hiking, swimming dogs, and visits down memory lane.  We’re only an hour away in Oakland, but it feels like such a different world.

Read This: My Foray into YA Lit

After a heavy month of reading a book on relationships (The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work) and a Willa Cather novel for my book group (Death Comes for the Archbishop), my curiosity led me to some lighter fare for May.  Much lighter.

twilight_book_coverI’d like to say that I’m interested in writing young adult literature, so that’s why I read Twilight and Gossip Girl this weekend.  But no, it was mainly because I wanted to see what all the hype was about, and because, as it turns out, they are both highly enjoyable.

Stephenie Meyer, as we know, is a Mormon mother who has written a ridiculously successful series about vampires.  Vampires.  They’re so hot right now.  Even to the point that their popularity has been parodied on South Park.  Though I found Harry Potter completely unreadable (sorry), I decided to see what this series of thick fantasy young adult books is all about, and put a copy of Twilight on hold at my local library.  There were about 48 other holds on the same title, I might add.

There’s something to be said about a 500-page novel that you can read in two days.  The story is more angsty teen romance novel than Sci-Fi, though the Sci-Fi part kept me interested when the saccharine parts threatened to overwhelm the story.  Twilight isn’t a great novel, but it’s highly entertaining, moody book, and I feel like I understand popular culture just a little bit more having read it.

Then there’s this:

gossip girlI’ve watched a few episodes on the web and the show didn’t really draw me in.  I wasn’t too surprised to find that the book is much sassier, naughtier, druggier, sluttier, and all around more entertaining.  The fantasy of living on the Upper East Side is quite fun and well-imagined, as is all the rich-bitch prep-school high-society stuff. It’s guilty pleasure at its best, which a glossy show on CW just can’t match. Gossip Girl is a great way to spend an unemployed (but should be finishing up my research paper and other finals) afternoon.

And now I’m off to find the next book in each series.  More productive afternoons await me.

Rodney and Mari

Two more workout DVDs to review!  First off, the inimitable Rodney Yee, he of luxurious long hair and sexy beach poses, and, unfortunately, sex scandals.  I’ve been to his studio in Oakland a few times, though sadly I’ve never taken a class from the buff guru himself.  I picked up his 2-disc Advanced Yoga DVD from the library this week:

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If that cover doesn’t make you want to do yoga, I don’t know what will.  The first disc contains an arm balance workout and a “complete hip opening routine.”   The arm balance workout is easy to follow and incorporates a lot of forward bends and easy stretches before moving into arm balances.  I was pretty psyched that I could lift myself off the ground in full lotus.  I guess all the strength work I’ve been doing since February has paid off.

The second disc is all about breathing.  There are four pranayamas.  I found the introduction plus the first pranayama to be very relaxing and more than enough for the day.  The four pranayamas are not necessarily meant to be done back to back.  Rodney’s voice is pretty easy to listen to while you’re relaxing and focusing on your breath, and I feel totally awesome after spending a good ten minutes on the floor chilling out.

Verdict: Both discs are easy to follow and appropriate for intermediate to advanced yoga practitioners. 

Next up…
Winsor Pilates Advanced Body Slimming – Sculpt Your Body Slim DVD

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Mari Winsor is another Pilates guru, though not as weird as Romana.  Apparently she’s the “Oracle of Pilates.”  Okay, that’s kind of weird.  This is also supposed to be an ‘advanced’ workout, though I’m a beginner (albeit with ABS of STEEL) and I was able to follow along just fine.  The workout itself is around 20 minutes, but it’s an intense 20 minutes.  I was sweating by the time it was over.  There are a few interesting variations to the classic moves, and Mari actually made my abs burn more than they ever have doing Pilates.

Verdict: I liked this one the best of all the Pilates videos I’ve tried, and will probably buy it.

Netflix* Raves: Aborigines and Trannies

*I actually got these from my local library (my favorite new video store), but they are 100% Netflix-able.

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002).  Three Aboriginal girls are forcibly taken from their families by the government in the 1930s.  The film chronicles their epic journey back home.  Kenneth Branagh is randomly in this as well, which is funny to me because it’s a pretty small part and he’s such a big deal (and such a great Shakespearean actor). 

I’ve said before that I like learning about history through movies (the sensationalism makes it interesting, you know) and this is not only a typical story of the “lost generation” of Aborigines (well, except for the long journey home part), but was written by a woman about her own mother’s experience.  The the making-of documentary is also worth watching.  It shows the director in the process of casting and training three girls to play the leads.  Though it’s their first time acting, they do a very convincing job in the movie.  It’s fascinating to see what their personalities are like off set.  Also interesting to note that the director was looking for Aboriginal girls that white people could “see as their own children.”  I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

Bad Education (2004).  I’ll admit I picked this one up soley because it stars one of the few actors that really does it for me in the hotness department: Gael García Bernal.  Even when he’s rocking a mullet and unflattering 70s/80s garb:

gael mulletAnd even when he’s cross dressing:

gael trannyThe hotness cannot be contained.  I think this might be my favorite of Pedro Almodóvar’s movies, as it’s not needlessly complicated, and no women are objectified.  For some reason the fact that it’s only men that are victimized makes me less inclined to believe thatAlmodóvar is a straight-up misogynist.  I’ve come around on his movies, and want to go back and watch All About My Mother and Talk to Her again.

At any rate, if you can stomach the theme of child molestation by a priest (thankfully it’s all suggested, not acted out), this is a very enjoyable film with lots of excellent eye candy and clever story-within-a-story twists.

Pasta and Cookies

Two of my favorite foods!

Last night we had some friends over for dinner.  They are also a somewhat newly-married couple, and they are getting ready to teach English in China for a few years.  I’ve gotta say, I get a tad jealous whenever I hear about friends going to live abroad, and especially those going to Asia.  However, no awesome job opportunity, no matter how amazing the locale, could ever make me want to give my dogs away to someone else while I live in another country.  It’s sad but it’s true: I will probably never live abroad.  At least not for the time being.

I broke out our trusty Cuisinart to make some homemade pesto.  This is usually how I make it (this is enough to go with 2 lbs of dry pasta, i.e. it’s a LOT):

  • Big bunch of basil (remove the leaves from the stems)
  • Handful of spinach
  • About a cup of extra virgin olive oil (kinda gross, I know)
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan

I blend the pine nuts, garlic, salt and olive oil together, then add the green stuff and cheese.  You can pretty much blend it to any consistency you like.  When the pasta is cooked, add the pesto and about a cup of sliced grape or cherry tomatoes.  Mix well.  Serve with grated Parmesan.

I turned to the master of delicious food for some side dish and dessert inspiration: Deb at Smitten Kitchen.  I found this awesome stuffed mushroom recipe, along with these ridiculously delicious oatmeal chocolate pecan chip cookies (with orange zest).

I also made my current favorite salad: spinach with sliced strawberries, goat cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette.

I tend to make too much of everything for dinner parties, and then have a ton of very rich leftovers that I feel obligated to eat (I’m cheap and wasting food pains me on a lot of levels).  This morning the 12 or so leftover cookies sat on a plate on the counter, beckoning me.  I can’t bring myself to throw them away, and I don’t have an office I can take them to get rid of them.

So yeah, I had oily, cheesy leftover pasta with cookies for my incredibly healthy lunch today.  It was delicious. Maybe this will have to be a double workout day.