Friday, February 28, 2014

Bourgeois Friday Fashions

One of the things about blogs that makes me laugh is the crazy amount of beautiful young (or older) people with fabulous lives who look fabulous all the time. I semi-regularly follow 2 blogs of women in their late 20's or early 30's and every other post is them looking SUPER stylish as they jaunt around New York (Kat) and/or London (The Londoner). Obviously, I am drawn to these blogs because they have NO resemblance to my own life. Also, their pictures help me craft similar-ish outfits out of my Target and Old Navy filled closet. Please notice that each of these blogs have little pictures at the bottom of the posts where the reader might "click and shop." My single constant question is "how do these girls afford all of this stuff?" Prada bags? TopShop staples? New items every week? 

So, I have decided to make Fridays into "Bourgeois Friday Fashions" with Bridgette. I will post whatever I wear (and whether or not I showered) and you can feel free to run down to Target or the Gap and buy whatever I'm wearing :) 

This first post is a bit of a cheat because I actually wore it last Friday but my photographers (kids) couldn't figure out my camera to take a picture of today's style statement. 

Last Friday, I did shower. My ensemble is a Gap cable knit sweater over a stitch fix skirt. I will have to discuss stitch fix next week. In these amazing photos, I am barefoot, but I wore the cow-boy inspired booties with this stunner. 

This is a real woman in her 40's at the end of a long day…Some of us are really too old for selfies

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

I finished this novel last night. I sobbed like a baby through the last 5 chapters.

If you don't know about this book yet, ask anyone under the age of 17. Plot - Two teens with cancer (or recovering from) fall in love.

There is a bit more to the plot than that, but major spoilers would result. The writing is wonderful (more pop references which are a little more "English teacher" than "teenager"). It was recommended to me by a 13 year old niece/cousin. She told me, "This is my favorite book - ever." High praise from a beautiful, athletic (read busy) honor student.

There is sufficient angst, melodrama and coming-of-age to make this into a classic young adult fiction. It also deals well with illness and mortality even if it offers very little in the way of hope or answers (just the way teens like it). If you are familiar with the Judy Blume book "Forever", there is a splash of that, for sure (even if Green didn't mean this). But I am really happy I read this book. I loved the characters. I cried as much for the parents as the teens. It is honest and quite lovely, actually.

Would I let my teenager read it? Content? Sex, death, eternal questions with mortal answers. I think answers will vary by teenager (like everything).

The movie will be released June 6. It makes me sad that a lot of people won't read the book because of this.

Watch the trailer here:

Our new kitchen choices

Even though I have no real readers, I've committed myself to blogging every day. Of course, t's only been three days, I've already missed a post so I will post twice today (hooray for the 2 people who see this!! ;) 

We recently moved to Denver, Colorado. We really like it and it was a good move even if it was very unplanned and last minute. I preface with this because we moved from Southern California where we had only lived for the past 3 years (long story for a later post). While in Southern California, our family lived in a home undergoing renovations for the entire 3 years. Seriously, the front yard was finished about 1 week before we sold our home to a lovely couple of very wealthy 20 year olds (no lie). 

Before we moved, I swore I would move into a home that needed no renovations (or very few that could be put off for years). I swore I wouldn't compromise. I swore I would never move again. 

This is what I get for swearing. 

We did find a home in a great location very close to my hub's work. It has a large yard. It is on a green space with just enough grass and trees for 3 little boys and a dog and it's about 1 block from the new Trader Joe's (very important to only me). Of course, it needs to be completely renovated. Like, every. single. inch. will be changed. I'm tempted to pretend that it's not mainly because I'm such a princess. Let's just say that's not the only reason we're renovating. There are basic changes that will help a lot - like finishing the basement and putting in a mudroom/pantry so that jackets, boots and cases of toilet paper don't fill my kitchen anymore. It will just be a prettier mudroom than is probably necessary. 
Oh, and while we're at it, we're redoing the kitchen. 

Here is what we've chosen so far (this is info strictly for Kathy):  The door is the shape we've chosen for our cupboards. They will be stained the darker color on the bottom. The bottom of the island will be the beige color on near the door. The backsplash will be the stacked stone. We have a great, quiet granite for the kitchen counters and working/prep island. The 2nd island is more a casual dining table and will be covered in a cherry wood. 

I did a really bad job of documenting our last reno, but this one I'd like to remember because I hope it will be my last. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


We survive Tuesdays around our house. Monday seems like a great day to organize and finish up what we didn't do on Sunday. Wednesday, I have a ladies' group and I sit around and talk about myself with other women, so that's great …but Tuesdays are a long parade of things to do and appointments with some dry cleaning or grocery trips just for fun. 

When we do have a moment or two to spare, we go to an indoor play place. Each time I take the boys, I'm amazed at how much these places can get away with charging when it's the only place to take small, crazy children in Denver (if the weather is below zero). Our local 'Little Monkey Bizness' is $11/child! There are climbing structures and bouncy castles and there is an art room - but I feel like for $22, I should at least get a cup of coffee thrown in. Or mandated play friends for the kids. Or a car wash. Or 15 minutes to myself. Instead, I normally get an irate mom of a 12 month old little girl telling me, "Your son pushed past my baby and didn't say sorry."  When I just sit there staring, she will add, "She fell." 

I have - literally - no response to this. 

I'm sure whichever son it was didn't even notice her baby on his way to blow up the death star/climbing fort. Neither boy would push down a baby on purpose. I honestly think that some moms are horrified by the fact that my sons don't notice their babies. I don't really think their children falling really bugs them (because toddlers fall. It's what they do). It's like a pre-pre school popularity contest. Because everyone knows that they cool kids were never pushed down. And so, I just stare.

So, we go to the art room and make pictures I never remember to take home from the drying rack. 

Mom of the year.

Monday, February 24, 2014

American Hustle (2013)

So, RKZ and I don't get to the movies very often, but when we do, we often have to compromise a little as to who gets to choose the film. When we first saw the ads for this movie, we knew we'd found one that we both wanted to see. Who doesn't love a 70's period piece staring Jennifer Lawrence? And the trailers looked funny. So, a few weeks ago we shelled out a small fortune for a sitter and went to see American Hustle.

Quick recap of the movie: A con-man meets his romantic and "professional" match in a con-woman and they begin the happy life of running scams (with some twists). An over-eager FBI agent then busts them so that they become part of his crazy scheme of bringing down dishonest government employees. It's honestly not a very complicated plot but made for some good situations along the way. 

Why is this movie getting Oscar nominations? The acting was awesome. Honestly, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper were amazing. I tend to rate actors by how much I forget who they are as private people and fall into the character they are playing. It might have been the hair, but it would have been hard to imaging Christian Bale or Cooper as anyone other than their characters while watching the movie. And I was very struck by Amy Adams' character and how subtly Adams played her. 

But no lie, Adams' breasts could have been nominated for best supporting actress because her character wore nothing but plunging necklines: 
Still, the movie was rated-R, so whatever, but I don't think I've ever noticed costume choices that much. 

The only bummer with the movie for me was that the first 1/2 of the movie was so fun - engaging, clever and just what I'd hoped for. But, I guess I wanted the second 1/2 to be a bit more of a Robin Hood story where everything worked out well for our heroes. I won't spoil it, but RKZ and I both found it a bit anticlimactic and were hoping for a "bigger" ending. 

I would probably rent this movie in a year or two from now but I don't think I'd go see it again. But I will continue to love Adams - and Lawrence - who I'm not totally sure isn't just playing her own wacky self over and over again in all of these films (but that's a personal opinion and she's still a cutey). 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The other day, I received a message in my inbox to "Read it Before I see it." The email listed very popular books which would soon be coming out as movies (always a crap shoot as far as I'm concerned). I was ridiculously excited that I've already read most of the books on the list - mainly because I've been feeling very out of the literary loop these days. I probably AM out of the loop considering it takes about 2 years to make a movie and some of the books I've just read.

Regardless, the list got me thinking that I'd like to give my "Bourg" take to these books. It's difficult to decide what to read with the limited time we have in our lives, and this blog probably won't help you. But it might help you if your son or daughter wants to read a book and you find yourself wondering if that is a good idea. Of course, as always, take all of my opinions with a grain of salt.

**Also, I will try to avoid even mini confusing spoilers but sometimes that's impossible. If you can't take knowing ANYTHING about a book before you read it, you might not want to read these posts**

 I read Gone Girl  in the summer 2 years ago (keep that in mind) but I can still remember it in surprising detail. This book really sticks with you for a number of reasons. I normally jot down my thoughts about a book in my journal as soon as I finish it. Here is what I wrote the night I finished Gone Girl
…it was good but one honked up book. I have become the stuff of pop culture - all my quotes - all the 'stuff' and rerun memories of my life…they were all there in a dysfunctional mess. A sociopath having a baby with a 'hollow man' - awesomely sad.
That quote seriously sums it up for me. Gone Girl is a murder mystery, psychological "thriller"(easy on the thriller), an advanced type of chick-lit and commentary on modern relationships all rolled into one. This is the only book I've read by Flynn, but I think she is an excellent writer or has a fabulous editor. The book is fast-paced and difficult to put down. Plot? In a sentence, 2 unreliable, married narrators delve into the disappearance of the wife on their 5th wedding anniversary (yes, one of the narrators is the wife).

Negatives? Are all very subjective to my preferences in my Bourg opinion. The characters in this novel are indeed "honked up" - crazy, dysfunctional, completely narcissistic and as lost as modern man can get. If you normally avoid people who make bad choices and you yell at the TV when a character does something irrational, don't read this book. But, if you can get past other people's crazy and you are fascinated by the insane choices people make and how they turn out, you'll like it. Particularly if you have an obsession with Pop culture. If you like tripping down memory lane with references, this is the book for you.

But, it's sad. You will not want to pattern your life after anyone in this book. It will surprise you and (probably) shock you a little. Or, you might know some people who are similar to the characters. In that case, I actually feel a bit sorry for you - or them (weak smile here). There are interesting commentaries on contemporary relationships that just made me feel sick to my stomach because they are true and tragic. But I liked all of that. I also like sticking my tongue into those little sores I get in my mouth, so do what you will with that.

Should your teens or pre-teens read it? Only if they are already on a steady diet of Dr. Phil and/or those radio shows where people call up to discuss sexual intimacies with the entire world (I'm not being sarcastic here). I don't think anyone male would be to into this book, but I can guess they'd want to see the movie.

Speaking of which, the movie will be released Oct. 3, 2014 and stars Ben Affleck. The rumor is that the ending has been changed. I actually liked the ending of the book (as much as you can emotionally "like" anything in this book) but it doesn't surprise me that it won't hold up in a movie.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Old Friends and Ancient Rites

    I had the great joy of reconnecting with some old friends from college last night. I don't know if it's a universal experience to have an enormous sense of peace and "this is so right" when running into people who knew you a long time ago. After what seems like years of moving and  searching out friends (with some good and bad results), it was amazing to feel so comfortable with a group of women I hadn't seen in person in over 20 years. I am just so grateful to know women who are comfortable with who they are; who love life and revel in their dignity and gifts. And they enjoy the gifts and accomplishments of the women they know! (Photo credit to my photog-crush, Aleli C)! 
Martha, Nisan, myself and Aleli enjoying Martha's beautiful home and one another.

 This morning, my oldest made his first Reconciliation. He was so happy to do a "second Sacrament." His brothers were happy that they got a tour of the confessional and were able to turn the lights on and off (red for "busy" and green for "come on in!")

Our Pastor, Fr. Alvaro, was his First Confessor. He's the oldest of 5 and a major practical joker.

Buck's halo of holiness

bunny ears for the crazies! 

**Tomorrow, I will begin reviewing some popular novels with movies coming out soon. I'll try to answer the questions: "Do I want to read this? and or  "Do I want my kids to read it?**

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Lego Movie

While there are some "boy oriented" movies I have been excited to see, the Lego movie wasn't one of them.

I think this is why. 

My life is consumed by Lego.  I have an entire dining room covered with a layer or two of little plastic bricks.  My 2 year old carries at least 1 mini figure around at all times. I spend nearly 2 hours a day connecting weapons to square mini people with circular hands. The boys fight constantly about what belongs to whom (do you see the picture above? Who can tell?).  I can explain Ninjago, Chima, Monster (Hunters), Harry Potter and Star Wars sets in detail. My 8 year old woke up today crying that a brother had destroyed his "Mixil". I don't even know what that is but I know it's Lego. 

So, when my boys began clamoring to see the new movie centered around Lego, I was more than hesitant - I was adamant that their father go with them alone. But, as any guilt-ridden mother of young boys would be, I was torn because I didn't want them to see or hear anything I could not immediately explain in detail (it's a sickness). The movie is PG and I wasn't sure how much parental guidance might be needed. So, I went to see the movie too, armed with a purse full of snacks, juice boxes and alcohol (joking on that last bit. I had 2 beers before we left). 

Here is my review: The movie was fine. It was funny at points. It wasn't as sarcastic or ironic as I expected it to be (some Lego shows are really negative humor-wise). The main character is a little construction guy named Emmet. 
Emmet is funny and a conformist and probably a lot like myself and a lot of the people I know. So, I liked him. I won't continue too much with the plot because I figure, if you're going to go see it then you already have plans to go see it (or you already did) and if you aren't interested, you won't go. If you aren't interested, definitely DON'T GO.  I don't think this movie rewards curiosity with value for the money. It's not exactly a "sleeper hit." 
On that note, my boys really liked it. They have been quoting the movie for a week. I did really like that a big message of the movie is that "master builders create from their own minds and not instructions." I loved that message because my boys have taken it and run with it. The movie celebrated actually playing with Lego in their own ways. This helps since we have about 25 un-constructed sets which never got around to being the "right" shapes. 

The only thing I really didn't like about the movie is that it *tiny spoiler alert* became live action in the final act. This lost my boys in general, seemed a bit "mostly for the parents" and wasn't really necessary. It would rewrite the movie in a big way but I found myself wishing it had been just a Lego movie and not a meta-fiction trying to connect itself to reality. The last 15 years seems to have a lot of movies trying to be cute using the irony of connecting their mythology to "real life." I get enough real life, thank you, that's not why I go to a comedy, action or kids' movie. Save it for the Oscar contenders, I say. 

So that's my Bourg take. I'm sure it won't affect whether anyone actually goes or not. :) 

(Canadian note - they plurarlize Lego as "Lego", not "Legos"- and because this is where my intro to Lego came, it's what I do - it's a cultural thing).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


These are my people on vacation at the Aulani resort in Hawaii (sans Goofy). RKZ, my hub. Coo, who is currently 5 and trying to learn to smile. HP, 2. All things 2. Buck, who's 8 and myself. I am 44 and enjoy when I actually can shower, do my hair and wear make up on the same day.

We also have a dog - a mini golden doodle named Kirby. He's anywhere from 6 - 9 months old currently but I am not ever going to do the math. I didn't enjoy counting out how old my kids are in months. If I didn't do it for the kids, I won't be doing it for a dog. 

This is where we live. We moved in last August (ugh, more math) and we are beginning major renovations in April. Lots more to add there. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A blog about me & mine (and movies, books, the occasional piece of art, clothes from Target and home renovation)

(reprinted from a July 13, 2009 FB entry with edits)

     So I'm about as Bourgeois as they get: 3 kids, I drive a mini van. I do a lot of laundry and watch too much TV. But, every now and then I get to the movies or I crack open a book. Love both of these things and have very little time to do either. Not a big fan of gossip, but I don't deplore it in other people.

Being bourgeois and all, I have a great tendency toward irony - makes me feel better about myself, I guess. But I don't generally hold the opinion that I'm better or smarter than everyone I meet (I meet a lot of good and smart people). BUT (you knew that was coming), the instances that I feel unrepresented (shall we say) are normally in the area of film and literary critiques (not "criticism", mind you - I'm talking the newspaper, not Norton). So, I decided to start a book and movie club with myself... talking about things the way bourgeois people (like myself) do, ie: "I spent a lot of money for this or a lot of time reading it, so was it any GOOD?"

Some things to know about my tastes (if you're going to bother reading this): I can find something good in most movies and books; I don't mind an unhappy ending if it makes sense and has a point; I tend toward the uber-geeky science fiction-fantasy but don't constantly live there; I think that if an ending is incoherent that does not immediately make great art; also, politicization for politicization's sake pisses me off. Lastly, I refuse to watch Renee Zellwiger (sp?) in anything - squinting is not acting.

If I can get this blog thing down, I will start a list of things I have just read/watched!

I also do not claim that this entire blog will not be about myself, my family and my choices toward all things middle class. To quote a great artist: "I work hard for the money. So hard for it, honey. I work hard for the money so you better treat me right."