Friendsgiving 2014

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we gather our family ’round and feast a-plenty.

For your family away from family, there is Friendsgiving.

This year’s Friendsgiving was the best one yet! We really stepped up our food game this year:

Clockwise from top left: mac & cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rotisserie chicken, gravy, cranberry sauce, salad, brussel sprouts

I accidentally ended up doing a lot of the food prep for our meal (oops) because I’m a bit of a control freak in the kitchen (ooooops). But I like to think it was practice for when I prepare a full-on Thanksgiving meal for my family + guests this week.

We also had a gorgeous veggie platter and some sparkling apple cider, hollaaaa~ (And my friends had wine XD)

We ran into a small SNAFU when the oven at Jen’s place refused to work, throwing off my plan to roast the brussel sprouts and bake the mac. So, in the end, I just sauteed the sprouts and left the mac unbaked. 😦 They still tasted great!

Awwwwwwww yeah.

I’m excited and also scared for my Thanksgiving at home, but I feel a renewed sense of confidence in my ability to cook. (Also, I’m trying not to think about the turkeys I’ve made in the past, which, as most turkeys end up being, were not properly browned and a bit dry.)

After helping ourselves to seconds and getting some pumpkin pie, we cuddled Jen’s cats and watched Love Actually, to kick off the holiday spirit with a classic Christmastime movie.

Best scene in the film because it’s one of the sweetest moments of the best relationship in the film

My friends and I may be scattered as we go off to school and new jobs and new things next year, but I hope we’re able to do Friendsgiving every year in spite of it!

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving?
What are you having for your Thanksgiving meal? What are you most looking forward to?

Also, stay tuned because, with any luck, I will have an actual holiday music playlist (or 5) ready for my Friday post! FRIDAY, the official day I may start blasting holiday music without fear of haters.




Holiday Movies

I love holiday movies. They warm you up from the inside out, like a mug of hot chocolate. It’s like they plant a little smile in your heart, and that little smile grows and blooms as the movie goes on.

It is some truly feel-good shtuff.

At this time, I’d love to share with you all some of my favorite holiday-themed movies that I have watched. I know I’m missing some classics, but I haven’t seen them yet, I’m sorry! Maybe I’ll get to watch them this year.

Love Actually (2003)

Love ActuallyI actually just watched this for the first time a few weeks ago and I instantly loved it. I will admit that I have seen the other holiday-themed ensemble romantic comedies, and they simply were not as good. Maybe it’s because they’re named after their holiday? (Looking at you, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve.) Maybe it’s because they weren’t British films, but I loved the humor, the storylines, the execution. Maybe it’s because it’s Christmas, my favorite holiday, and it just filled me with some holiday cheer.

I especially loved things like Hugh Grant playing the Prime Minister and Martin Freeman playing a sex scene body double.

(Love Actually is on Netflix right now if you have a subscription :D)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

File:Home Alone 2.jpgFirst of all, the Home Alone movies are pretty great. There’s a reason that MacCaulay Culkin was the highest-paid child actor at the peak of his fame. They were terrific, and I loved loved loved the second one because we got to also experience the magic of Manhattan during the holidays. It is one of the absolute best times to be in the city because it truly feels magical, and I think that this movie captures it pretty well. Plus, Kevin McCallister is not just defending himself but trying to help others in this movie.

The spirit of Christmas is strong in this movie, for sure. Who can forget that theme song?

Jingle All the Way (1996) is not a popular pick, and I don’t know how many people have actually seen it, but I’ve seen a LOT of Schwarzenegger films in my day (don’t ask why) (I have no idea) and this is maybe my favorite one. You’ve got Ahnold and Sinbad fighting to buy this mega-popular toy that has been selling out nationwide so that they can redeem themselves as fathers while also satirizing the crazy commercialization of the holidays. It’s one of Arnold’s family comedies and it’s pretty good for that. It’s just a light and fun movie. I wouldn’t call it a must-see, but it’s fun to watch.

(This is also on Netflix right now!)

The Polar Express (2004)

File:Polar express.jpgI fondly remember reading this book as a kid, although I remember being very surprised with the movie because the book is calm and idyllic and doesn’t have a catchy musical number about hot chocolate. But it’s a really nice film with a great message about believing in Santa and Christmas. You have some adventure, a Tom Hanks-voiced train conductor, and some pretty good CGI at times. (Although the scary-looking children can make you forget that. :P) Definitely recommend if you liked the book, even though, like many adaptations of children’s books, they take a lot of liberty with the story.

“Here we only got one rule, NEVER EVER let it cool!” (Guys, this song is persistently in my head every December.)

(This is also on Netflix right now!)

The Santa Clause (1994)

I’m not as big a fan of the sequels, but I always like watching The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen as the reluctant new Santa.You’ve got Christmas magic, Santa magic, elf magic, laughs, feels, it’s good stuff and you should watch it if you haven’t already!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie (1998) own this movie on VHS and I kind of love it. It’s not as popular as the other Rudolph movie, but this one is an animated musical. YES. Whoopi Goldberg voices the villain Stormella, and her musical number is, as many villain songs are, great. Watch it if you find it!

Honorable Mentions

    • Elf (2003)
    • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 animated TV special)
    • Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
    • White Christmas (1954)

Now don’t get mad. I know I’m missing classics that… I haven’t seen (!!!) (I know I know).

To see:

  • A Christmas Story (1983)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Miracle a 34th Street (1947)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) (aka The Island of Misfit Toys)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – I’m still unclear as to if this is a Halloween or Christmas movie but it looks a little too scary for me…

Wikipedia has an interesting list of Christmas “classics”. Not sure how a movie like Deck the Halls (2006) is a “contemporary classic”. (Not sure why I watched it, either…)

What are your favorite holiday movies?
Which ones did I miss that I absolutely MUST watch?

Stay tuned for my holiday playlist! I’m super excited to share that because I count down  from January 3rd to the moment I can play Christmas music without getting hatorade. I am ready. I am so ready.