Holy Haven’t Posted In A While, Batman!

Well my friends, it’s been a while.  I completely got side tracked in my NYC recap and haven’t written in what is an obnoxiously long time.  Here’s what has happened since… and I promise that in the coming weeks I will be more present on here J

1.)    Our Franklin had to have some major surgery a little while ago.  He swallowed a squeaker and it got lodged in his intestine.  Due to the material of the squeaker, it never showed up in any x-rays until they gave him some medicine to help pass the gas that was building up in his little body.  Vets and pet lovers are trying to get dog toy companies to put a special lining in these squeakers so they are visible on x-rays, but who knows when that will happen.  The good news is, Franklin is well and back to being his old ornery self.  It was a very scary time for a few days when he was puking up blood, taken into surgery and recovering… we can’t imagine what it would be like without that little pooter…

Here Franklin is in the “Cone of Shame”

2.)    I won 2nd place in the Suncrest Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off for chili that I had never made before.  I took a combination of family chili recipes and then tweaked them with my own spin.  I brought in pot after pot of chili into work to be pre-judged and modified as the comments came in.  It was a LOT of fun and the trophy is freaking amazing.

2nd Place!

3.)    Our neighborhood garage sale is this coming Saturday and I couldn’t be more excited.  After “Organization Fest 2012… Part 1” we put all kinds of boxes of things downstairs to be donated… and they never were.  WHOOPS!  So we will have a TON of things to sell… and immediately after, whatever is not sold will be going to Christian Help, Goodwill, Ronald McDonald House, Heartland, etc.  I am so excited!  If you want to come out, most all of our neighborhood participates and there is everything from furniture to clothes to baby items to awesome randomness.  It’s from 8am to noon on Saturday, June 9th in the Hidden Point Community which is located at the top of S. Pierpont Rd near Nico Spalon.

4.)    Total since December, I’ve lost 43 pounds.  YES!

5.)    Nick is officially on summer break from school which is super exciting!  I think Franklin hasn’t adjusted to someone being home with him quite yet.

6.)    Work has been crazy. The Donor Relations team held 2 events (1 over 325 people, 1 over 340 people) within 24 hours of each other… now that those events are DONE… I’m slowly getting my office back from being a Def. Com. 5 Bunker and turning back into a “normal” human being.

I think that’s all for now.  Hope all is well with everyone else!  Stay tuned…

The Book of Mormon Musical

Having been introduced to the music by our good friends, Adam & Joe, we were desperately looking forward to humming along in our seats at this show.  I also had a pretty clear image in my head on how the choreography, sets and costumes would be and am happy to say that it really surprised me how amazing it all was!  This was the first Broadway show we bought tickets for on our Anniversary trip and were extremely excited to get them at a decent price.  We sat in the balcony only slightly off-center to the right. 

The music in it pulls from other musicals…besides all of the Lion King References… “Orlando” is an omage to “Tomorrow” from Annie.  “You and Me…But Mostly Me” is a take on “The Wizard and I” from Wicked… “All-American Prophet” has moments from “Trouble” from The Music Man….”I Believe” is a spoof of “Climb Every Mountain”… “Sal Tiay Ka SIty” is driven from “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Part of Your World”.

The musical is about  2 Mormon missionaries sent to Northern Uganda where famine, AIDS, an evil warlord and poverty outweigh the interest in religion.  One missionary (Elder Price) knows the Book of Mormon scripture well, the other… likes to make things up.  While they have trouble connecting with the locals, they realize the true understanding of their faith. 

Oh… it’s also written by the creators of South Park so it is hilarious, raunchy and completely inappropriate!  There’s a reason why children aren’t allowed in the theater!  It won 9 Tony awards including Best New Musical and it was so clear why.

While it was awesomely raunchy, the singing was phenomenal.  We actually saw it when the two main leads (Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad) were off in LA making TV pilots, and the understudy’s (NIc Rouleau and Jared Gertner)completely kicked butt!  Their voices were AMAZING!  Nikki M. James (who won the Tony for her role!) was fabulous.  Rory O’Malley as the Elder in charge in Uganda (the 3rd main male lead… “Turn It Off!”) was over-the-top and quite possibly my favorite character in the whole thing!  There was also a girl in the chorus (Who was Nikki’s understudy for sure) that could freaking BELT.  If you have the sound track, she was part of the original cast and is the female whaling at the end of just about every ensemble song… INSANE!

Over-all I can’t recommend this musical enough if you like the kind of humor South Park has.  It was not something to take your kids or.. depending on your parents… to, but it was absolutely hysterical!  I don’t want to spoil anything… because let me tell you, being shocked while your watching is half of the fun! 

I can’t wait to see it when it comes to Pittsburgh next year!  We are getting season passes for the PCLO for sure! 🙂

Freezer Burn

 In my attempts at cleansing/organizing my life, I’ve come to the realization that I’m doing something every day on my quest.  It might not be big… it might not be huge… but things are happening!

I promised you last post that I would show you our ongoing project of a pantry/kitchen storage that’s downstairs.  Little by little duplicates and items are being transferred down here so eventually our little “stock pile” will be all filled up!  The racks were from Sam’s Club and AMAZING!  We have filled our entire garage with them and have completely changed our lives for the better!

Garage Pantry:

 

First 2 shelves of our little pantry!

 

Things are grouped together in baskets by type so we can find them easier!

 

Larger and lesser used kitchen items stored downstairs to free space upstairs!

 

 

Monday night I made it my mission to clean out the fridge/freezer upstairs.  DUN DUN DUN!

Here are the before photos:

 

 

Before Fridge... UGH What a Mess!

 

Close(r) Up of our fridge BEFORE

 

Now, after I took everything out, I chloroxed the crap out of the fridge.  I had planned on putting down some Press & Seal wrap on the shelves, but it wasn’t working for me.  I’ve seen it done on pinterest and like the idea if something spills you just replace the wrap, but not this time for me!

I then went through and got rid of the expired things (Ugh, how disgusting!) and combined duplicates (Nick and his salsa!).  I put our snacks in a little basket so all we have to do is reach in and grab one.  Also, we use cheese in just about every meal (Don’t worry!  It’s usually 2% or fat free!) so I placed all of that in a basket as well.  The baskets are actually going to be nice storage in there and once they’re cold they’re great, but I’m looking into getting smaller clear ones so they’re a little easier to work with in the fridge and you’re able to see everything easier.  I just haven’t been able to find them yet in a price range I like… stay tuned.

The rest is pretty straightforward.  Now granted, I’m going to the grocery tonight to restock everything… I mean come on, we basically have cheese, fat-free jello snacks and green onions in there! I’m also using this refresh as a time to only bring healthy things to eat into our home.  A large portion of tonight’s grocery run will include fresh veggies and fruits!  YUM!!

Here are the after photos:

 

PLENTY of room for food now!

 

Marinades in ONE place

 

0-1 Point Snacks if I'm feeling munchy 🙂

 

Then, I tackled the freezer while listening to the repeat of “Dance Moms.”  If you don’t watch that show… you should.  It’s On Demand for Comcast and just about as trashy as television gets.. so you know I LOVE IT!  I had the same game plan, however some things got shifted downstairs into our storage freezer.  I was amazed at how much stuff was crammed into that thing!  For one, I thought the light was busted in there… WRONG!  I just had so much stuff crammed in there it was blocking the light!  Also, we had a TON of stuff that had been opened, not sealed properly or at all and then put back so it was all freezer burned and gross.

 

Here is the Before Photo:

 

Freezer Before: Look at all that "STUFF"

 

Here is the After Photo:

Meats on one shelf, starches on another, veggies at the bottom!

 

 Last night I got to see my friend, Michelle, and her baby, Noah, for a little while.  We went to Michael’s and got a frame (much cheaper than the one they tried to sell me custom!!) that will fit the caricature that Nick and I got made of us during our trip to London when we got engaged.  My hope is to hang it in the bedroom when our new furniture comes!  AND THAT HAPPENS TOMORROW!  I can’t wait to share with all of you the transformation of that room!  WHOO HOO!  Tonight I’ll be prepping the room (AKA cleaning the carpet, wiping down the floorboards and figuring out how to undo the cable wire that’s wrapped around the room) for the delivery in the morning!

The App That Saved Christmas

I can’t tell you the number of times that I wasn’t fully ready for the gift giving portion of Christmas.  Wait, yes I can… 25.  I can almost guarantee that 25 Christmases have gone by and when December 9th rolls around I’m not in some sort a panic.  Not this year.  Christmas #26 in the life of Lauren Seiler is organized and prepared.

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 With the addition of the iPhones into our lives, we found “The Christmas List” App.  This App is amazing.  It keeps track of all the gifts you’re giving out.  Its $0.99 in the App Store and I HIGHLY recommend it!

We start buying Christmas Gifts in the summer.  It may not be all the gifts, but pretty much by the end of August we have a couple of things.  Then we forget about them.  We forget where we put them.  We forget if we’ve already given them to the gift receiver.  You know the drill.

Not anymore!

You make a different list for each person who you are giving gifts to.  Then, you enter in the gift you’re going to give.  Let’s PRETEND I’m giving the Hubs a watch.  I can then take a photo with my phone (or snab it off of the website and email it to myself) and upload it to the item in the app so I know exactly which one he wanted.  Then, you update the status by saying if it was purchased, wrapped, etc. 

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The best part?  You can take a photo of the gift after it’s been wrapped!  With my family we do 4 Christmases… yup… 4!  So we need gifts for us and the siblings to open over at my dad’s place, mom’s place and in-laws.  So instead of saying “Gosh, I hope this was the gift we meant to have opened at Dad’s” we KNOW it’s the correct gift!

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 It also keeps track of your budget for you.  So, if you set a budget for someone and go over, it alerts you.  We try to keep our gift giving equal between my brother and sister.  Usually about a week before Christmas, we freak out because we didn’t realize that Jim has 7 gifts and Kate only 4 (but really she has 11 gifts and we just can’t find the other ones) so we go out and get more and it’s a never ending cycle that I’m pretty sure works to their advantage.  NOW, I know exactly how many presents each person has and how much I’ve spent on each person.

 PLUS, you can keep track of what stores you bought what gifts from as well, so in the future I can shop at a certain store for someone if they loved the gifts that came from there! 

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This App is beyond brilliant and I seriously have never been this prepared for Christmas before!  Nick and I can share the lists with each other too, so if one of us purchases something or wraps something, we can send the list and it updates it in the other person’s App!  Or you can e-mail the lists to other family members to let them know what you have already purchased or share gift ideas.

With the exception of a few gifts (that are being shipped to the house as I type this) everything is wrapped and under our tree!

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The ONLY bad thing about this is that now that all the gifts are wrapped… I want everyone to open them NOW!!  I honestly can’t wait to see the Hubs and all of my family and friends open their gifts… and they’re just sitting under the tree taunting us all!

Tranformers: Dark Side of the Moon

I would rank it as better than the second movie. The action was slowed down enough for the 3D that you could actually tell that Autobot ‘A’ was punching Deceptacon ‘B’ and all the detail that goes with it. Sometimes in these action movies, it goes by so fast it feels like I’m just watching a cloud of smoke with an arm here or a leg there. This action was actually pretty decent.

I enjoyed Rosie Huntington-Whitely MUCH more than Megan Fox. She looks like a younger Cameron Diaz (circa “The Mask”) but with a more serious tone and not so goofbally.
Patrick Dempsey was pretty good too. Overall the acting wasn’t all that bad, it was really the writing. About every 6th line felt like it was from another movie: “There can only be one!”

Unexpected cameos speckled throughout the movie are pretty fun. John Malkovich is hilarious, as is Ken Jeong and even Buzz Aldrin! I had no idea going in that there were in the movie and they were pretty spot on. THE COLOR RED IS NOT ALLOWED ON THIS FLOOR!

If you are a Transformers diehard from the originals be prepared to sigh and throw your hands up at times, as the Hubs did throughout the movie. If you are like me, who has little to no history with the alien robots, it will be a semi-enjoyable action movie.

Make sure you hit the bathroom before this thing begins, it is about an hour longer than it needs to be… and your bladder will feel it!!

I give it a C+, ALMOST B-.

Hopefully we’re going to see “Green Lantern” this weekend… so stay tuned 😉

Louie & Game of Thrones

GAME OF THRONES

I don’t think I’ve talked about it at all in my blog, but this was one of the best shows this year on TV. It’s based on the first book in a series by George R.R. Martin. If it continues the way the first season did, each season will follow one book pretty accurately. The costumes, sets and actors are supurb and really make you feel you are in this land.

The overall plot? Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Political and sexual intrigue is pervasive. The dominant families are the Houses Stark, Lannister, and Baratheon. Robert Baratheon, King of Westeros, asks his old friend Eddard, Lord Stark (Sean Bean), to serve as Hand of the King, or highest official. Secretly warned that the previous Hand was assassinated, Eddard accepts in order to investigate further. Meanwhile the Queen’s family, the Lannisters, may be hatching a plot to take power. Across the sea, the last members of the previous and deposed ruling family, the Targaryens, are also scheming to regain the throne. The friction between these clans, and with the remaining great Houses Greyjoy, Tully, Arryn, and Tyrell, leads to full-scale war. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the farthest North. Amidst the war and political confusion, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night’s Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and icy horrors beyond.

My favorite character is Arya Stark (Sean Bean’s youngest daughter). She’s spunky, stubborn and a total tomboy. Daenerys Targaryen (or the Kalesei) is growing as another favorite as well. She started so meek and helpless and has finally found her voice. My other favorite, although sometimes a “bad guy” is the “Imp” known as Tyrion Lannister (he’s played by the mean little person from “Elf”).

The show makes you think and is one of those shows that I know we’ll be watching over and over again as a series every now and again like we do with Deadwood.

I HIGHLY recommend this drama on HBO. The first season has ended, but you can catch it on HBO Go/On Demand and the DVDs I’m sure will be out around Christmas time.

I give this show as a whole an “A”.

LOUIE

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum there’s Louie. Centered around Louis C.K.’s life as a newly single parent to 2 little girls and a successful stand-up comedian in NYC. This show is BRILLIANT. It’s dry, filthy, and absolutely hilarious.

His comedy makes you think while you’re laughing and has so much heart in the middle of the chaos that you truly feel for the man “crumbling for your enjoyment.” It’s incredibly well written and performed by the other comedians and actors as well. It inserts parts of C.K.’s standup routine at the clubs into the show so you can see where his life would lead to his routines, and if you’ve ever heard them before, you know how “hilarious” and filthy it is. And If you haven’t heard it before… SHAME ON YOU!

Season One comes out TODAY on DVD… get it, Netflix it, whatever and catch up. Although, this is not the kind of show you necessarily have to had watched the previous episode. Each one is so different with its theme that you can come in THURSDAYS at 10:30 on FX and be fine.

I really can’t recommend this show enough. It’s not your traditional “Modern Family” or “30 Rock”, but I bet that’s it’s way funnier.

All the thumbs up. I give this show an “A+++”.

Super Bad Teacher 8

I saw two movies at the theater… and let me give you the DL on both of them.

Super 8

While not what I expected, a solid film. This one will bring you back to the times when movies like “E.T.” and “Stand By Me” were popular.

The plot? After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.

The kids in the film are great. Elle Fanning (Dakota Fanning’s little sister) is a standout and Joel Courtney (who plays the movie’s lead, Joe Lamb) has just been cast as Tom Sawyer in the new remake they’re doing. Another standout kid is Charles played by Riley Griffiths who I imagine is what J.J. Abrams/Steven Spielberg actually grew up like… shouting orders for more “production value” and getting his friends to wear zombie makeup.

The movie reeks of Spielberg, with kids racing around on bikes, daddy issues, etc. However, I wish (like in “Cloverfield” Abrams would have waited ‘til the end even more to show the creature…

Wait til the credits role for a little bonus fun.

All in all, I give it a B+. Nostalgic and fun.

Bad Teacher

This was a LOT funnier than I thought. If you go into it thinking it’s over the top and filthy, then you’ll like it. If you go in expecting a traditional rom/com with a good heart, you are going to be sadly mistaken.

Cameron Diaz’s character is the not one of the best human beings. She’s lazy, rude, disrespectful, manipulative, selfish… the whole package. Her goal? To win the teacher competition at her school to get the money she needs for a boob job so she can nab a rich husband.

Jason Segal is spot on perfection.

There are a few major flaws, like when Diaz’s character comes in at the beginning of the film, the class grows silent and waits for her to speak. This, according the Hubs, does not happen in real life. HAHA.

I give it a solid B. I’ll watch it again, but probably won’t go out of my way to buy it.