Recently I went to see the movie Friends with Money. The "friends" referred to in the title are the superb Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack. It was those three women I was eager to see, Jennifer Aniston not so much. But since she was the friend without money I thought I'd be able to tolerate her presence onscreen. The writer and director is Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing is another of her films). In Holofcener's Friends with Money the women have been pals for years. Three are married and wealthy. The fourth (Jennifer Aniston) is a pothead, who works as a maid and is obsessed with a married man.Jennifer Aniston's character Olivia used to teach at a private school in Santa Monica but quit when the kids started giving her quarters (upon noticing the old car she was driving).Instead of feeling sorry for Olivia's current state, what I mostly felt was annoyance. I was just waiting for one of her friends to tell her to get her act together. The film possess some amusing moments and is cleverly written but overall it was rather lackluster. I thought the origin of the women's friendship should have been explained and the cause of Olivia's problems should have been taken more seriously.
Before Friends with Money began previews were shown for Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion. Altman who specializes in ensemble films selected the likes of Woody Harrelson, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan (hmm), Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin to appear in his current endeavor. Going by the preview the film looks like it will be a smashing success. It hits theaters in June.
Changes abound over at the Food Network. Paula Deen's two sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, have a travel/food show starting soon called Two For The Road (premiers June 27th). The boys "criss-cross the country in search of the best local, homemade foods and family-run businesses". My beloved Paula Deen is venturing into live television with a show called Cooking Party (premiers in September) in which she will be in front of a studio audience. The show will be filmed in Savannah!! The most exciting news by far though is the addition of Nigella Lawson to the Food Network lineup. Nigella's show, Nigella Feasts, based on her recent bestseller(also premiers in September). The showwill be about "food, family, public holidays and private passions and how to celebrate with dishes that stir the senses and delight the palate," I cannot wait. Other shows I'm less thrilled about: Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt and Throwdown with Bobby Flay.
In a few weeks I'll be heading to Portland for a three day mini break to celebrate my Birthday (which occurs on May 12th). Now I've passed through Portland on numerous occasions on my way either to California or Washington. But I've never spent more than a few hours in the city. So I decided that before I'm an East Coast resident, a trip to Portland should occur. My Birthday weekend seemed like a good time to go, mainly because Birthday $$ and no sales tax make a good match. We're staying at the Hotel deLuxe. And I've made dinner reservations for my Birthday at the restaurant Olea (the chef used to work at the French Laundry!). The reason why I'm posting about this trip now is because I'm wondering if anyone has any "must see" or "must do" suggestions when in Portland. I do have a copy of eat.shop.portland., so I'm not at a total loss for places to eat and shop. But I would love any suggestions from real people, as I hate relying on a book.
Vile Bodieswas written in 1930 when the author, Evelyn Waugh, was but 26 years old. The book is an epic satire of English high society after the Great War "written with the brittle wit, insinuating intimacy, and the skittering attention span of a gossip column." Waugh himself described the book as "a welter of sex and snobbery".
In my opinion Waugh does a superb job of bringing the Jazz Age to life for readers. And upon completion of the book I found it easy to see why it has been so enduringly popular.
Now I've heard it said that some believe the character of Nina Bloutis based on Diana Mosley (one of the Mitford sisters, who Waugh was once smitten with). The book is dedicated to Diana and her husband Bryan Guinness. "As a young woman Diana, third of the Mitford girls, was attended by a court of young men, including Evelyn Waugh who declared "her beauty ran through the room like a peal of bells".
Where to begin, the beginning of course. The sea voyage was a bit drawn out and tedious and I was happy once they hit land and the story could really begin. I found interesting Adam's lack of complete outrage at the confiscation of his book at customs. He seemed a bit irked but didn't throw the fit I expected. This of course set the tone for the rest of the book. The characters show disinterested nonchalance when faced with even the most horrible of circumstances.
Although Vile Bodies focuses around the on again off again engagement of Adam and Nina, they as a couple lack the passion expected of two people in love. The book may be a love story of sorts but it is definitely one of the less passionate variety. A perfect example of this being when Adam asks Nina if she really does want to be his wife and she replies with something along the lines of, "Oh, yes. It's so boring not being married."
The books overall tone may be mainly light but there are several bleak moments; Mr. Chatterbox gassing himself and the prostitute dying at Lottie's.
I quite enjoyed the humorous relationship between the Colonel, who plays the eccentric aristocrat superbly, and the Rector. The scenes in which the Colonel treats the Rector's car as his own, and later when he causes the loss of the Rector's electricity, were very amusing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the bogus Mr. Chatterbox columns. The promotion of suede shoes, green bowler hats, the so called fashionable hangouts like the temperance hotel and the station kiosk, and even fictional people, were all very funny.
Overall I found our first selection for the Blogger's Book Club to be a success, a quite captivating read. Although now I'm tempted to go rent Bright Young Things to see the characters brought to life. Do be warned though that Bright Young Things has a much more uplifting ending than the novel.
Do tell me what you thought of our first pick for the Blogger's Book Club.
Due to the fact that come fall I will once again be frequenting a classroom on a regular basis I realized that I'm in dire need of a new school bag. In High School I sported a backpack. During part of College I went the messenger bag route. Then my final school bag was purchased from Coach. The style of the bag was based on an original Bonnie Cashin design. It was a bit small for a school bag, but big enough for a text book, a notebook, and a few other necessities. After finishing school I made the mistake of using it as a diaper bag while working as a nanny. So it soon fell apart from too much use or misuse. Now the search has begun for the perfect school bag. Here are some I'm considering:
1. A Jack Spade Publicolor tote. "This limited edition tote, inspired by Publicolor and its ability to catalyze change through the power of color and collaboration, was created to support the organization's efforts. 25% of proceeds from the sales of these bags will be donated to Publicolor. 21oz tarp cloth constructed with 3-ply yarns for unmatched durability. Treated to resist stains and water. Waxwear bound handles, interior zipper pocket, riveted seams, reinforced bottom."This bag definitely strikes me as very art school appropriate. It also comes in red, but I'm smitten with the green. [$120.00]
2. A Tribeca tote by LeSportsac. This bag comes in a vast array of patterns and colors but personally I think I like the basic black. For $10 more they'll monogram it for you. [$54.00]
3. A microfiber commuter bag by Vera Bradley. My friend Kasia (New York born, Georgia raised) informed me that all the Southern girls are sporting Vera Bradley bags. A line I'd actually never heard of or seen before. "This structured bag will take you from corporate weekdays to casual Fridays. Fits most laptops and features a detachable/adjustable shoulder strap. Loads of zip and slip-in pockets inside and out keep cell phone, PDA and work essentials at your fingertips." Vera specializes in prints (think paisley) but this particular bag comes in only black and that suits me fine. The only thing that would keep me from committing to this bag is the fact that it looks a bit shiny and I'd prefer a matte black. [$84.00]
4. A "Be A Bag" by Anya Hindmarch. I could go a complete different route than the bags shown above and have an original image placed on an Anya Hindmarch bag. "Be A Bags are made to order with your own photographs." Of course I'd adore my own Anya Hindmarch bag, but they're oh so pricey along with being oh so cute. [Expensive]
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Friday: After work my Mom brought over a beautiful bouquet of lilies (my favorite) and a congratulations card. Then she took me out for a "lets celebrate your getting into graduate school" dinner. I was waffling about where I wanted to go eat. But once we got to Fairhaven we noticed that the sign above what once was Mannino's, was back up. Mannino's is an Italian restaurant which has a long history in Bellingham. In 2004 they moved from their downtown Bellingham location to a prime spot in Fairhaven. Think gorgeous outdoor seating, a darling upstairs, and a view of the bay. Unfortunately in March the owners made the decision to stop serving Italian food, revamp the restaurant, give it a dreadful new name "Spoon: Urban Bar and Supper Club", and start serving northwest cuisine. Fortunately the patrons of the restaurant were so appalled with the changes that after being open only about a month they decided to change the name back and start serving the Italian fare they were known for. So I decided we must eat at the newly opened Mannino's. The dinner was smashing (lasagna), the drinks strong (a Manhattan), the service was dreadful.
Saturday: Had a friend over for tea and watched 28 Up. We've been getting together every few weeks to watch an episode from the Seven Up documentary series out of Britain. Such a brilliant series, check it out. Then in the early evening I headed out to the island to spend the night. After getting off the ferry we drove around the island with my Mom pointing out all the winter storm damage and new houses being built. We ordered pizza from the Beach Store Cafe for dinner. It was delicious, but tiny, and oh so expensive.
Sunday: My Mom put together the cutest Easter Basket for me (yes I still get one!). The basket (from Williams-Sonoma) is made of glass, it's darling. Inside the basket were all sorts of treats and she included a Walk the Line DVD and a great mug from Starbucks. In the early afternoon my family went out for Easter Brunch at The Chuckanut Manor, which specializes in seafood and is located on Chuckanut Drive (beautiful scenic road which used to be part of the pacific highway). We had a great table overlooking the San Juan Islands. The food was superb and the portions generous. After brunch we drove down to Skagit Valley to check out the Tulip Festival. Luckily the sun was out, but so were the tourists. We managed to walk through several of the vast tulip fields before tiring of the crowds and heading home.