Dec 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Dec 30, 2013

Birthday Shenanigans

We had to cancel my birthday twice this year: the first time because of the crazy ice storm, and the second time because I was sick as a dog. I was still sick when we finally did go and could only taste about 60% of everything, but I still had a great time!

I got this card in the mail from my mama and daddy for my big day. The big 3-4. I'm getting up there people! Closer to 40 every year haha. I don't mind too much I is just a number (or so I keep telling myself). Anyway, the card was perfect...they definitely found one that matched everything about me!

And inside was a gift certificate for two to the King Edward Nutcracker tea! Come on! High tea and Christmas rolled into one? I can't handle it.

Smelling the selections of tea from the humidor. I chose a berry tea. I don't normally go for fruity teas, but when in Rome right? Or at high tea I guess.

Pink tea! My heart sings.

My date.

We got some champagne on the house!! That's right, because we are ballin'. (It's really because my mom complained about something..haha! Thanks mommy!).

The menu:

Beef Wellington Inspired Puff Pastry Pinwheel  
Lemon and Dill Crab with House Cured Salmon 
Deviled Chopped Egg with Pimenton 
Festive Spiced Duck Confit on Cranberry Sage Stuffing 
Slow Roasted Honey Ham with Clove Infused Pineapple Chutney 

Sticky Carrot Toffee Pudding 
Traditional Sherry Trifle Shooter 
Apple Mincemeat Tartlet 
Peppermint White Chocolate Mousse 
Orange Infused Millionaire Shortbread 

Cranberry and Candied Citrus Peel Scones 
Served with Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Jam

Damn that Devonshire cream is the bees knees.

Huge tree in the hotel lobby. I love the King Eddie. And the abandoned Crystal Ballroom I infiltrated!

Stuffed full of tiny, too rich portions of things. And very happy. Thank you again mama! I love you!

Christmas Goings-On

So this post is a bit late, and I apologize to everyone who is Christmased out and just over it (I kind of am, surprisingly!)

I have been sick a lot this December, which completely BLOWS because I never get sick. Good thing I am getting it out of the way now!! 2014 will bring bigger and way better things, I can feel it!

Despite all the annoyances of renting and having to deal with A LOT of construction this year, I am still grateful for our happy, cozy home. Our little family is the best, in my humble opinion.

I am also grateful for the craploads of snow we have been getting! (not the ice..the ice storm was not good for many, many people).

We went to the Eaton Center on a night of a crazy snow was insane. But, we got what we needed and got the mermaid out of there. Malls at Christmas are my own personal Hell (I am sure they are everyones. Except the people who stroll and are just pretty much out of it and causing traffic buildup). I have always said that malls at Christmas should be like the movie go under a certain speed and blow up. Or something.

We had a very cozy, lovely Christmas at chez Kato and Dave's this year. I woke up at 1AM and could not go back to sleep because I was SOOOO excited. Haha! Kid at heart forever!

We did my family Christmas dinner on Christmas evening, which was a brutally long, exhausting drive, but anything to see everyone and enjoy the Christmas love with all of them. The next day we drove an hour to Dave's parents Christmas but they had to cancel at the last power. Which was really unfortunate! But, we met them in town and had a nice dinner out with them, just the four of us.

Also...ALSO!!! Among a bunch of amazing things that Dave got me this year, he went ABOVE AND BEYOND and got me a pair of Frye boots! For those that have been following me here for a few years now, I have wanted a pair of Fryes for forever. And the stinker went and got me a pair. Sigh. And they are beautiful.

Focus on the boots, not the roots.

It's not about presents though, it's about being able to spend time with the people who are still here, and enjoy each other when/ and as much as you can. I hope wherever you are, whatever way you choose to celebrate (if at all), that you had a lovely, relaxing, full of joy and cheer holiday.

From mine to yours, Merry Christmas everyone!

Dec 28, 2013

Top 5 Tim Burton/ Danny Elfman Collaborations

The Christmas crazy has knocked me out times two in one month. So while I rot on the couch and breath my amazing sick breath out of my chapped lips, I have a treat of a post! Brandon Engel is a blogger for who is pretty awesome. Enjoy his post can't go wrong with Tim Burton and Danny Elfman!

Tim Burton and Danny Elfman are two highly creative Californian weirdos who have managed to achieve a tremendous amount both individually and as a unit - like an ultra-nerdy goth art Voltran. Or something like that.

One of the things that is truly magical about the medium of film is the interplay of sound and image. It can be breathtaking when handled with a deft touch, and utterly ridiculous in a way that calls attention to itself when left to hacks. Elfman and Burton found something significant in each other: an aesthetically congruous approach, and one which has yielded some of the most memorable film soundtracks of all time.

Here's a look at the best of the best collaborations between the two...

5. Sleepy Hollow (1999) -- One of the things that's compelling about this soundtrack is that it veers away from the sentimental, light-hearted touches which are present in virtually every other Elfman score. The score echoes the film, in that both stay true to a relatively limited palette, and the entire film feels all the more cohesive for it. This film, perhaps more than any other, effectively conveys Burton and Elfman's love of gothic horror films in the Hammer tradition.

4. Batman (1989) -- Elfman's soundtrack was so powerful that it was also used for the popular Batman: The Animated Series which premiered in the early nineties. This soundtrack would prove to be a major turning point for both Elfman and Batman. For the former, it established his reign as a go-to composer in Hollywood, and for the latter, it helped to reinforce the notion that, in spite of the campy television show from the sixties featuring Adam West, a more sober approach to Batman could be taken seriously by both the studios and and viewing audiences (this trajectory, of course, also owes much to the influence of Frank Miller's Dark Knight comics, and has of course been expanded upon by Christopher Nolan).

3. Beetlejuice (1988) -- What's great about both this film and its score is that there is a very charming, cartoonish mania about it. It doesn't have quite the same level of restraint or earnestness that is present in Sleepy Hollow or Batman. Nor does it have the same sombreness or emotional gravity of Edward Scissorhands. It's a highly-stylized, feel-good-in-a-sort-of-disgusting-way type of film. It sounds almost like yiddish, rubber-hose animation music.

2. Edward Scissorhands (1990) -- In many ways, this film set the precedent for Nightmare...It's a score which evokes Christmas with its choir arrangements and use of bells (and it takes place over Christmas). There is a sort of bipolarity which permeates both the score and the narrative of the film itself...It's simultaneously heart-warming and gut wrenching.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) -- Elfman's scores have always played a crucial role in setting the tone for Burton's films, but this is an instance where the music and lyrics drive much of the narrative itself. Well before the film went into production, Elfman composed the music and lyrics to the film, referencing Burton's conceptual sketches. Elfman even goes a step further in this score, providing the singing voice for Jack Skellington.

Author Bio:  Brandon Engel is an entertainment blogger with He's written a number of articles on highly important subjects, including: vampires, werewolves, cartoons, and snack foods made out of novelty cereal. Brandon lives and works in Chicago.

Dec 18, 2013

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Ubisoft Toronto Christmas Party 2013

This past weekend Dave and I attended his work Christmas party, and just like last year, it was a blast!!

The theme this year was speakeasy...I went more 'glam', Dave went more awesome.

Or maybe I'm the awesome one. Also, don't mind my pregnant belly, I just had dinner. Or I'm pregnant, whatever. You decide. I'm kidding! Mother, don't have a cow!

The party was held at the gorgeous Berkeley Church on Queen Street. It was the perfect venue, what with the gazillion fireplaces and stained glass windows and lights. It was pretty magical in there.

A little blurry...kind of like Dave's brain at that point. I paced myself, I was still recovering from last years Ubisoft party.

There we go.

I was trying to get a picture of Jade Raymond. My camera must have realized I was being a creep and wouldn't get out of blur mode. Sorry for creeping girlfriend.

It was fun times! Like I said last year, I can't wait to see what they come up with next year! We always have a blast (open bar doesn't hurt), and the people who work there are all pretty cool too (who doesn't love gamers? We always have something to talk about). Thankfully the recovery wasn't TOO bad this time around. Last year was a 10 for AWFUL, this year I'd say it was a 7.

Thanks Ubisoft Toronto for an awesome holiday party! Happy Christmas!