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33 Before 33: A Very Yinzer Mom’s Day with @NolaOnTheSquare and @RowhouseCinema

33 Before 33: A Very Yinzer Mom’s Day with @NolaOnTheSquare and @RowhouseCinema

Checking out a flick at Rowhouse was on my list for this year, and it took me nearly SIX MONTHS to get my backside over there. Whaaaat? Lemme just summarize: mix-and-match beer shop meets quirky indie theater. If you read that and thought that THIS is my mothership, you’re right. I just can’t wait until the inevitable day this oh-so-hipster Lawrenceville theater sets up a lineup of Fire Walk With Me- Neverending Story- Pink Flamingos- Return to Oz (I say inevitable because this is Lawrenceville and THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN). Because then I will camp out ALL DAY AND NEVER LEAVE.

So back to Ya Momz day in chronological form. We started off the day with a very lovely brunch at Nola On the Square. I’ve been a big fan of Nola’s since my first visit. The food is hearty and good, but more importantly, I’ve always had very super extra mega good service there. Especially when it comes to big groups or other requests that other establishments get frustrated with. Nola, instead, takes such requests in stride and goes above-and-beyond expectations.

Also, my kid has been watching The Princess and the Frog nonstop lately. Some kids would watch the film and talk about frogs or princes or fancy dresses. My kid, however, watched the movie and was like “MOM I WANT TO EAT SOME BEIGNETS.” This is because she is my kid, and this is how we do. As Nola is one of 3 options in the city for these fried goodies (the other two, if you’re wondering, are Salt of the Earth and E2) it seemed like a good option for Ya Momz day.

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I pride myself on a well-balanced diet, so naturally I started off with some vegetables.

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The beignets were a BIG HIT with little miss. NOLA has them on their regular dessert menu, but you can also select them as a starter on the brunch menu. That starter size was just the perfect amount for her. Actually, she only ate 1 and then Mr. Beez and I stole the other. But it was just enough deep fried sweetness to kick off the meal without being too heavy. The beignets come with a coffee dipping sauce and I whisked THAT away right quick. The last thing I need is for this maniac kid to be hopped up on caffeine.

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For my entree, I had the breakfast flatbread topped with scrambled eggs, potatoes, cheese and andouille sausage. WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE? More importantly, where was this every single Saturday morning of my college career?

After NOLA, Baby Beez and I went for a mommy-and-me movie date to see Labyrinth at Row House Cinema. Seriously, every time they release the features for the week, I’m  dying to ditch work for a day and camp out with beers and popcorn.

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Lemme just say, that admission for the 2 of us, a juicebox for her, a quality craft beer for me and a medium popcorn to share came out to a total of $24. Plus this is a locally owned small business. Also, Muppets. It does NOT get any better than that.

Sometimes Baby Beez can be an obnoxious terror. That’s because she is 4, and that’s what 4 year olds are like. But I’ve been so incredibly lucky that for our long weekend together this weekend, she was incredibly well behaved, and we had such fun.

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3RFF Time! My Picks for the Three Rivers Film Festival with @PghFilmmakers

It’s NOVEMBER! Which means it is my BIRTHDAY MONTH and also time for the 3 Rivers Film Fest! The timing is hardly a coincidence, amirite? I have not yet pieced together my schedule for this much-anticipated events, but I have selected my “picks” for this year. This year is full of films I’d like to see, lots of dark, dramatic, thrilling films. Can’t wait!!

Are you attending the 3 Rivers Film Fest? What films will you be seeing?
Escobar: Paradise Lost

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Starring Benicio del Toro (“Traffic”) and Josh Hutcherson (“The Hunger Games”) this absorbing drama, hot off the screens in Toronto, is that rare genre – a romantic drug thriller based on historical events. Told from the perspective of Nick, an innocent Canadian visiting Columbia, the story unfolds during the final years of Escobar’s reign. The young surfer falls in love with a beauty only to discover that her uncle is Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug kingpin. When Nick is invited to a party at a Xanadu-like fortress he finds himself entangled in a world of excess, corruption, and bloodshed.

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Foxcatcher

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This eagerly awaited thriller – filmed across Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh – tells the mesmerizing story of what happens when Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), a 1984 Olympic champion, sees a way out from under the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo). When Mark is invited by eccentric millionaire John duPont (Steve Carell) to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, things go tragically wrong. The real-life crime drama from Bennett Miller (“Moneyball”) is also a gripping and profoundly American story of brotherly love, misguided loyalty, and moral bankruptcy. Film provided by Sony Pictures Classics.
*     *     *     *     *     *     *
Human Capital
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The time-fractured thriller begins with a fatal collision between a cyclist and an SUV on an inclement December night in Northern Italy. Flashbacks of events leading up to the incident – from three different vantage points – reveal the complex dynamics of two incidentally connected families, as well as the interplay between contrasting economic classes. Slick and stylish, this white-knuckle thriller is adapted from a best selling novel and is Italy’s official entry for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
*     *     *     *     *     *     *
Listen Up Philip
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Starring Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman, and Jonathan Pryce, this quirky comedy focuses on a prickly, egocentric writer who grouses about a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend and is indifferent about promoting his own career. But he jumps at the offer to use a friend’s summer home as a getaway while he nervously awaits the publication of his second novel – a place where he finally gets peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject: himself.  A dark and literary comedy, it uses devices such as omniscient narration and shifts in perspective.
*     *     *     *     *     *     *
Once Upon a Time Veronica
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A finely tuned, sensual portrait of a woman’s conflicted entry into adulthood, this award-winning film is a thoroughly modern anti-fairy tale. Veronica is fresh out of medical school. It’s a crucial time in her life, a period filled with doubts and important decisions to be made: tough career choices, her close bond with her ailing father, and her active but chaotic love life. Built around a stunning central performance by Hermila Guedes, she presents an emotionally raw, psychologically-complex character. There are desires,adventures, and misfortunes – but no fairy godmothers.
*     *     *     *     *     *     *
A Spell to Ward Off The Darkness

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From pagan re-enactors to failed communes, black metal festivals to Arctic hermits, and the forever Golden Hour to the Northern Lights, this experimental documentary is an inquiry into the possibilities of a spiritual existence within an increasingly secular Western culture. We follow an unnamed character through three seemingly disparate moments in his life: on a small Estonian island, in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland, and during a concert in Norway. Atmospheric, musically infused, it proposes a belief in transcendence. In English.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Stop the Pounding Heart

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Part of the New Directors/New Films series at Lincoln Center, this quietly moving film could not be further from the big city. Set in rural Texas, it’s an investigation into the inner life of a teenage girl — the state of her soul – as she falls for a boy from a vastly different background. Sara Carlson (playing herself) is part of a devout Christian goat-farming family with 12 children, all home-schooled and raised with moral guidance from the Scriptures (no phones, TVs, computers, or teen drinking). This drama, crafted in an intimate documentary-style, reveals Sara’s turmoil about her place in a faith that requires women to be subservient to their fathers and then their husbands.

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Supernova

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Featuring an outstanding performance from Dutch actress Gaite Jansen, Meis is a bored and frustrated 15-year-old living in the middle of nowhere with her working-class parents and grandmother. Although an adjacent country road makes a 90-degree turn, seemingly just inviting vehicles to crash into their run-down house, Meis waits for something – anything – to happen, while musing about the laws of physics and energy. This much-talked-about indie from the Berlin Film Festival is a spot-on portrait of restless adolescence.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

To Kill A Man

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In this revenge thriller from Chile – the country’s official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film — a tranquil, middle-class family man is tormented, and later terrorized, by criminals in his neighborhood. Frustrated by the legal system’s bureaucracy, he eventually opts to take matters into his own hands when one of the outlaws threatens retribution after serving time in prison. Based on a true story, the drama focuses on the social and psychological consequences of committing the title act. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Zero Motivation

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A zany, dark comedic portrait of a unit of young, female Israeli soldiers, this indie has been wowing festival audiences this year. The human resources office at a remote desert base serves as the setting for this cast of characters who bide their time pushing paper, playing video games and staging office supply battles – counting down the minutes until they can return to civilian life. Handled with a sharp wit and abrupt shifts in tone, writer-director Talya Lavie dramatizes the boredom and personality conflicts, while exploring issues such as patriotism and friendship as well. Contains adult content.

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Now we are Four.

Now we are Four.

A while back I was fretting over Baby Beez’ 4th birthday, not sure of how to celebrate it, or how big or how small, or if we pushed Baby Beez toward no party would she grow up resenting us for her party-free years? #1stWorldProblems

In the end, we decided to let her take the lead. If she asked for a party, she could have a party. If she didn’t ask, we’d just put together some special activities for her. Over the last month, whenever she talked about her birthday, the only thing she cared about was cake. Cake cake cake cake cake. I figured  that as long as we get her a cake, we’re golden. And it turns out, it all worked just fine.

Elsa and Anna Cake

We started Baby Beez’ birthday weekend off with a sleepover with her friend Elena. Because I was entertaining 4 year olds and not, say, me, this meant that I made a dinner of hot dogs and corn on the cob, and it was a HIT. Also, easy, and all things I had in the house already. We also enjoyed a very tasty birthday cake from Bella Christies. Elsa and Anna = big hit.

Birthday Cake

Elsa and Anna Cake

Elsa and Anna Cake

After cake, of course, we watched Frozen. The girls sang along and acted out the whole movie. I had to negotiate a couple of disputes, such as advising them that they can BOTH be Elsa, and everything will still be OK.

After the movie, because birthdays mean sugar sugar sugar sugar, we made ice cream sundaes. The girls had fun with the arts and crafts aspects of putting them together, but they apparently aren’t as insane-in-the-brain over ice cream sundaes as I am, because they ate a few bites and declared they were done. Because they are reasonable, healthy children. And I am a sugar-crazed lunatic.

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Ice Cream

A 4 year old sleepover is much different than a teenager sleepover, because once I bundled these two up and read them a story, the were out. They did wake up at 5am, scared from the thunderstorm, but I put Disney Jr on for them and dozed back off on the couch. This morning was full of chocolate chip pancakes. All things good.

We planned to continue Baby Beez’ birthday weekend with a trip to the Renaissance Faire, but it was rainy and gross out today. This would have meant trudging through the mud, and getting soggy and miserable, so we ditched that plan. Instead we took her to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 at the movies and afterward, came back to the house for leisurely afternoon naps. Such a birthday win.

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You remind me of the babe

On Wednesday we had a mid-week outing to the movies. In our days before Baby Beez, this was not an unusual occurrence. Mr. Beez and I love the movies, and many of the local theaters run midweek specials (free popcorn Mondays, etc). At one point, I had all the specials memorized, and could tell you what the best option would be any day of the week. Throwing a kid into the mix makes midweek movies very difficult. Not just because we have to uphold a responsible bedtime, but also because there is just so much more STUFF you have to do with a kid around, that two free hours for a spontaneous movie is difficult to find.

The AMC Lowes Waterfront has started running older movies on Wednesday nights. When we saw that Labyrinth would be playing, Mr. Beez declared that we MUST GO. I’m the one usually leveling demands around here, so when he makes a declaration, we must abide.

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The theater was PACKED. We got there a few minutes before showtime, and the only seats left were in the front row. That’s not my ideal location, but the rest of the fam was fine with it. The movie of course was great, because it’s Labyrinth. What’s not to like about Labyrinth? I worried that Baby Beez might get a little scared of all the goblins, but she didn’t. Not in the least. In fact, I think she wanted to party with Jareth and the goblins up in the tower. (Also, can you imagine how bizarre-funny-crazy filming that scene would have been? It’s megarockstar David Bowie dancing around in tight pance with muppets and a baby. So strange.)

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Baby Beez has had a connection with Labyrinth since birth, can’t you see the resemblance?

We all had such a fun time, but the best feeling of all was being able to share something Mr. Beez and I have long loved with Baby Beez, and watch her find just as much joy in it.

DANCE MAGIC DANCE!

DANCE MAGIC DANCE!

DANCE MAGIC DANCE!


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Hello, Sunday

Hello, Sunday

Today I took a nap, cleaned up the house, read a couple magazines and did laundry. It’s almost like I’m a normal person! Usually Sunday is full of running around and work and all the normal things that normal people do to get ready for the week get shoved to the side and forgotten. I did need to do a lot of work today, but I hit a wall, because there were things around the house that needed to be done, or I would completely lose my mind. So I took care of things around the house, and as a result I’m going to pay for it this week with having to be more focused, more efficient and working even longer days, but it is what it is.

My once-a-week crock pot cooking has been a success. We’ve been trying lots of new recipes, and not only is it super easy to throw a meal in the crock pot, but I also end up making enough food to feed us for at least two meals. This means healthier meals and less money on take out, with minimum time and energy investment.

Lemon Chicken Orzo

Two weeks ago I tried 365 Days of Slow Cooking’s Lemon Chicken Orzo soup recipe and it was just lovely. It is a warm and comforting winter meal, but not so heavy as a chunky soup. I ended up eating several bowls of it for one dinner, whoops! It’ll last a bit longer if you don’t strap on the feedbag like I did.

This week I made Skinnytaste’s Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast, and it is an instant favorite.  It is SO incredibly easy and SO incredibly delicious. We were so hungry that we ate the whole thing up before I even remembered to take a picture, but there are plenty of gorgeous pictures over at Skinnytaste’s site, so you should check them out.

Last night, Mr. Beez and I had a date night where we went to an early play, went out to dinner and then went to the movies. I let him pick the movie, since I pretty much pick everything all the time. He picked Gravity. I was not interested in it to begin with, but it was pretty good. It has tones of tension and the outer space imagery is all beautiful. We saw it in 3D and I expected to pretty much be horribly motion sick the whole time, but ended up being OK. I ended up liking it a lot, and it re-confirmed that I absolutely have no interest in traveling to outer space. Ever.