Chick Flicks That are Worth a Damn.

Call them RomComs, Chick Flicks, whatever, but the truth is, I’ve never been able to really label how I feel about this film genre. Sometimes, these movies cheer me up when I’m down, and other times, they make me cynical (more than I already am) and I feel like I’m never going to find a guy, and the next thing you know I’m in the freezer aisle at Albertson’s choosing between Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey.

So, I’m on a mission to find some chick flicks that are worth your time. You’ve probably seen them, and if you haven’t, run to the nearest RedBox. There’s a ton out there, so this might end up being a multi-part post, but I started with the ones I had right in my apartment. And yes, I watched them just for the sake of this post.

Sooooo cute!

Sooooo cute!

Drive Me Crazy (1999)

Plot: Nicole, head of her high school’s Centennial celebration committee, has everything lined up to get asked to the dance by popular basketball player, Brad. But when her plan falls through, she turns the guy next door into any girl’s dream…only for his ex to want him back. Can Nicole get her plan to work before the big dance? 

Starring the beloved Melissa Joan Hart, and the sexy Adrian Grenier, this film stands the text of time. Unless I’m just a huge dork, still living in high school.

I was in 9th grade when this movie came out, and I loved the way it openly addressed (and even mocked) high school cliques, and the worst, facing the fact that you might not have a date for the dance. And, even though Nicole’s (played by Hart) little friend turns out to be a huge bitch, I love that she talks in headlines: “Girl gets two-faced boy in backseat, violence anticipated.”

Hitch (2005)

Plot: Successful matchmaker, Hitch meets gossip columnist Sara, and while he struggles to impress her, his business is booming. Meanwhile, a client he declined screws over Sara’s best friend, putting Sara on the search for this “Date Doctor,” only to find it’s the man of her dreams, or so she thought. Can Hitch explain himself to win Sarah over? 

I know all the Ryan Gosling fans are groaning, since Eva Mendes is the lead female in this flick. While I’m not a huge fan of her’s, or Will Smith’s (who plays Hitch), for that matter, I just love this movie. It almost mocks RomComs in a way, pointing out that it doesn’t matter what rules you use for the game of dating, it really just comes down to finding the right person.

And, I can’t help it, but that scene where Hitch has a walkie-talkie delivered to Sara’s office to ask her on their first date? I. SO. WANT. THAT. TO. HAPPEN. TO. ME. Or, maybe if a guy would call me, that would be equally as impressive.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Plot: As college students, Harry and Sally meet through a mutual friend/girlfriend, and drive across the country together. Repulsed by Harry, Sally goes on her way, never talking to him again…until they bump into each other six years later at the airport. While years continue to pass, she finds him less repulsive, and they start to wonder, can men and women be friends, or will sex always get in the way?

Who doesn’t love Meg Ryan in a chick flick? I love that this movie (attempts to) tackles that annoying question about men and women being friends. I also love the soundtrack to this movie, and I think in general, it holds a special place in my heart because I fell in love with my best friend in college, too. Even though now, I hate his cheating guts.

Nevertheless, anytime I watch this movie, and Sally orders her complicated apple pie a la mode, it makes me want a slice. Really bad.

John Tucker Must Die (2006)

Plot: John Tucker is the hottest, most popular guy in high school…which is probably why he has, like, a dozen girlfriends. But when new girl Kate comes to town, she’s seen this story one too many times, and gathers three of his exes for ultimate revenge. 

Is this the most well-written, smart chick flick out there? No. But who doesn’t love a movie dedicated to getting back at the guy who broke your heart? Besides, some of the pranks they pull are pretty funny (i.e. the red thong?). And, I hate to admit it, but Tucker (played by Jesse Metcalfe) is fine as hell.

Legally Blonde (2001)

Love the shoes...

Love the shoes…

Plot: Elle Woods, pretty sorority girl in pink, thinks she’s about to get engaged to her college sweetheart. But instead, she gets dumped for being “too blonde.” So, she gets into Harvard to win him back, but when she does, she finds something else is worth her time. 

If this isn’t a great movie to pull any chick out of her doldrums, then I don’t know what is. Even if it’s not a breakup I’m upset over, this movie gets me going! While the pink sorority facade is laughable, I love her creative ways to get ahead, and her witty comebacks.

Plus, there’s the nail tech that you cannot help but love. And the fashion, the fashion is to die for. Plus, ever since I’ve seen this movie, I’ve always wondered about that scented resume. Anyone ever tried that?

PS. While I was looking for fun “Legally Blonde” stuff, I came across this makeup kit by Bella Pierre, which is supposedly the same stuff they used in Legally Blonde, the Broadway musical!

Now And Then (1995)

Plot: Four 12-year-old girls, best friends, are growing up together during an Indiana summer in the 70s. But it’s not just any summer—for all of them, this seems to be the summer that everything happens. 

I don’t know how I first saw this movie, but I recall watching it dozens of times with my BFF, Angela, and let me tell you this: it does not get old. Staring Christina Ricci, Rosi O’Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rita Wilson, and Devon Sawa, I mean COME ON.

This movie covers it all—divorce, death, the birds and the bees, haunting stories, and anything that comes with growing up in a small town. It’s a must see.

Divide...and conquer.

Divide…and conquer.

The Breakup (2006)

Plot: Once Gary and Brooke breakup, they are faced with one big decision: who gets their condo? Their extreme efforts to push each other out becomes comical. 

I’m sorry, but I love Vince Vaughn. Add in Jennifer Anniston and I’m sold. This movie makes a tough situation pretty funny, and has a pretty good depiction about the way relationships are sometimes (the fight about the lemons is spot-on). And I can’t help it, but I simply LOVE drooling over that condo.

“There’s a real big gap between getting your ass kicked and having a dancing, singing sprite fool you with trickery and then strike your throat before you even know you’re in a fight. But I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand that, because all you do is make moves from up in your ivory tower.”—Gary, The Breakup 

The Fault In Our Stars.

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

My most recent read.

Monday night, I finished reading John Green’s, “The Fault In Our Stars.”

This is a book that’s been on my reading list for months, and I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so I jumped at the chance to buy it—splurging on the Collector’s Edition.

I stumbled across Green’s collection of books when I started reading things by Jonathan Tropper. I bought Green’s, “An Abundance of Katherines” and absolutely loved it! I knew I had to read “The Fault In Our Stars,” or TFIOS, as it’s now called, being a cult favorite.

Now, with the movie-version of TFIOS (coming to theatres June 6) on its way, I knew I needed to pick up the pace with my reading schedule.

But once I started reading this book, it took me about three days to get through it.

TFIOS is the story of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. They meet in a support group for those dealing with cancer. Hazel has, “Thyroid originally but with an impressive and long-settled satellite colony in my lungs,” cancer, while Augustus has a “Touch of osteosarcoma.”

Augustus and Hazel fall in love.

It is a unique love between two teenagers who have been through more in their years than most of us will probably ever see. But the uniqueness goes way beyond the disease. It’s in the books they read, the poems they recite to each other, the food they eat, the places they travel.

I won’t give anything away, because I think this is a book everyone should read. But, a pretty decent part of the book takes place overseas. Since Augustus and Hazel both have life-threatening illnesses, they were granted “Wishes” and they get to visit a place that is dear to…well, Hazel, but since Augustus loves Hazel, it becomes important to him, too.

This book has so many quirky things, not to mention the BULK of amazing quotes, it’s easy to understand why it’s become so popular.

So, if you have a chance to read this one, I highly recommend it—and, of course, I’ll be at the midnight premier. I may or may not be wearing a TFIOS sweatshirt.

You are so busy being you that you have no idea how unprecedented you are.

—Augustus Waters, The Fault In Our Stars

Pic of the Week.

Homemade happy hour, featuring the Cecil Place Sour

Homemade happy hour, featuring the Cecil Place Sour

I have a guilty pleasure of admiring the glamorous lives of others from afar, via Instagram. No, I don’t even HAVE an Instagram account, but I’ve managed to find plenty of profiles, and be jealous of their beautiful lives.

God, I’m creepy.

Anyway, one of the bloggers I follow (and stalk on Instagram) posts all kinds of delicious recipes that I’m mentally marking for future use. One of them was a handcrafted cocktail she created, and named it after her street, Cecil Place.

It looked delicious.

So, when my friend and co-worker, Ashley, wanted to do a happy hour, I snatched the chance to host it and make a pitcher of Cecil Place Sours. Because when else am I going to whip up a fancy drink of bourbon and citrus?

To make the Cecil Place Sour, you will need:

  • 3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice (about one juicy grapefruit)

  • 2/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons)

  • Bourbon (I used Bulleit Bourbon)

  • Egg whites (a splash per drink)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 4 sprigs of  fresh thyme

First, get your simple syrup made. In a small sauce pan combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water and toss in your thyme. Let simmer on medium for about 3 minutes until sugar dissolves; turn off heat and let steep. Remove thyme and transfer syrup to an airtight container. Refrigerate whatever you don’t use.

Next, squeeze all of your citrus.

In a cocktail shaker add a few cubes of ice, but not too many or you will not end up with the beautiful texture these drinks are known for. Pour in 1 part Bourbon, 1 part citrus juice, 1/2 part thyme simple syrup (I don’t like mine sweet, if you prefer sweet do 1 part), and a splash of egg whites. Shake vigorously for about 2 min to achieve a frothy consistency and pour over ice. There is enough citrus juice in this recipe to make about 5 cocktails.

I made mine by the pitcher, and Ashley and I sat on my terrace with hummus, cheese, meats, and crackers. It was a glorious spring evening with great food, drink, and company!

PS. Don’t forget to check out Lauren’s blog!

Seeing Red (Flags).

Living on the beach? Not a red flag.

Living on the beach? Not a red flag.

As a relationship columnist and blogger, sometimes it’s a little embarrassing to admit all of my stories when it comes to dating the wrong guys. While I have dozens (okay, maybe hundreds) of stories, what it really boils down to is ignoring red flags, especially before things get serious.

It’s something that I’ve really been working on, especially in this last year that I’ve been single. If you’re in the same boat as I am, maybe my list of red flags will help you out. If you have any others that I’ve missed, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or Tweet me @OrangeJulius7 

RED FLAGS: WHEN YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER…

  • Expects you to do everything
  • Cannot apologize
  • Doesn’t introduce you to friends, family
  • Is not good at communicating
  • Talks down to you
  • Has a mean sense of humor
  • Wants to change you
  • Mentions sex early in the relationship
  • Doesn’t make you feel special
  • Gushes about someone else
  • Is secretive with his phone
  • Doesn’t fight fair
  • Is lazy in bed
  • Is a stage-5 clinger
  • Is never around when you really need them
  • Doesn’t share personal details
  • Uses texting as a main source of communication
  • Needs to go out every single weekend
  • Still talks to The Ex
  • Does drugs
  • Never has any money
  • Can’t remember conversations you’ve shared
  • Changes his/her story

In previous relationships, when one (or several) of red flags would appear, I didn’t think of them as detrimental. I figured, “Oh, boys will be boys,” or that eventually, things would change. But, they didn’t and then I was left feeling like a fool.

In my last relationship, it got on my nerves how much my then-boyfriend was on his phone. He would text during dinner dates and movies. When I asked him what that was about, or who he was texting, he would always say it was work. He also always had his phone with him (even in the bathroom) and had a password on it (he told me it was so his coworkers wouldn’t mess with it). But when I found out he was cheating on me the whole relationship, I wished I would have pressed further and connected the dots sooner.

Of course, every relationship is different, so the red flags might not match my list. In general, I think following your gut is the key to finding any red flags.

Forever My Friend.

There are lots of dates I wish my mind would erase. And by dates, I mean months paired with numbered days of the week.

Next week, one of those days is on my calendar.

When I was a sophomore in college, I was living in my sorority house, and it was the morning of our formal. I was planning to wear my prom dress from my senior year of high school.

It was coral, with layers (dozens of layers) of pink and purple tule as the poofy, floor-length skirt, and the strapless bodice was completely beaded. It was gorgeous, even if my description makes it sound otherwise.

I had planned to get my hair and makeup done at the mall, so there I was. My hair was up and curled, my makeup probably overdone, and I stopped by one of the stores to talk to a friend.

I left the mall, and headed to the sorority house. My friend, the same one from the mall, called me.

“I guessed by your happy face that you didn’t hear the news,” she said. She told me she didn’t want to ruin my makeup, but she had to tell me something.

DC died.

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Dustin Clemons, known to all as DC, was the first person I met at LSU. We met at orientation, and kept in touch the summer before our freshman year. When we both moved onto campus, I was relieved to see a familiar face.

And his face was a cute one.

He was heavily involved in…everything. And although he was probably so busy he never slept, he always made time for me, and for his other friends.

I invited him to join me at sorority functions, and we always had a blast. I felt so lucky to be in his presence, any day.

But on that day, hearing that news, I pulled my car into the nearest parking lot and cried. I had suffered loss before, loss even younger, but I just couldn’t believe it.

When I composed myself, I drove back to the house, poured myself a stiff drink, and sat on the floor of the foyer while other’s dates arrived for the dance.

I had a date—a guy I asked from an English class. He didn’t show up.

So, I got in the car with a friend, and sat alone, dateless, at dinner.

I couldn’t stop thinking about DC. I wished he would have been there. I wished everything could rewind. I wished he never would have crossed the street. I stared at our most recent text conversation, wishing something would come through, proving this all a giant mistake.

But it didn’t.

Instead, I went to his funeral. I didn’t wear black, because I didn’t think he’d want me to be sad. But there, in the pew, I sat and cried into the arms of my sorority sister and friend.

It took me months before I could think of him the way I always had—with a smile. I made a CD of his favorite songs, and played them in my car during cool night drives to clear my head.

Since the day DC died, the month of April has had a haze over it—more than just the rain. And while I knew the numbers associated with such loss, I didn’t realize that it’s been nine years.

Tuesday night, I used a ladder and a flashlight to pull down the boxes from my closet, boxes that held our photos (aside from one I keep framed), and binders that smooth newspaper articles written about him. As I held back tears, I was wearing a custom trucker hat, “I <3 DC.”

He loved trucker hats. And popped collars. And the Tar Heels.

And I miss all of those things.

The thing about losing someone, especially someone young, is that it’s difficult not to think about how much of their life they didn’t get to live.

The only thing that helps me cope with that idea is that they still lived the life they were meant to. In just a short time, DC connected so many people, more than I have, and probably more than I will.

For me, I know because of him I met dozens of people. I had nights I will never forget. And while, I still get sad sometimes wishing he were here, I know he is around in his own way—like when I hear “Mr. Jones” on the radio or in the grocery; I know he’s there with me.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way lately, as he had a thousand friends (literally), and if it’s just a bit of comfort, know that we are in the presence of great company.

Believe in me, help me believe in anything, I want to be someone who believes.

—Mr. Jones, Counting Crows 

Pic of the Week.

One of simplest, yet favorite baking pieces

While simple, this is one of my favorite baking pieces

When I got my first apartment (by myself) after college, my mom gave me an extra crock-pot she had, as all I had was a bed, a dresser, and a slew of clothes.

It took me years to get enough furniture to make for a decent home, and lots gifts to fill my kitchen with all of the things I needed to be the little chef (Ratatouille!) I wanted to be. Today, kitchen gadgets are nearly popping out of my cabinets, but that’s not my story.

I kept the hand-me-down crock-pot for years and used it often. In fact, I didn’t get a new, modern one (with a timer and a thermometer) until two Christmases ago, from my mom. However, I still kept the old crock-pot for one reason: it was a perfect fit for my Bread ‘n Cake Bake pan—also given to me by my mom.

It came with a little recipe book, so old the pages don’t hold together anymore. Although there are several delicious recipes, I’ve only made the Pumpkin Tea Bread, but it’s so deliciously dense, I wouldn’t bake it any other way.

Over the weekend, I pulled out my old crock pot, along with my Bread ‘n Bake pan, and whipped up a batch of the bread, only this time, making it a little healthier:

  • 1/2 cup oil (unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (organic coconut palm sugar)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour (coconut flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (unsweetened dried cranberries)

Blend oil and two sugars. Stir in beaten eggs and pumpkin. Sift together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in nuts and dates. Pour batter into greased and floured Bread ‘n Cake Bake and cover. Bake in covered crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or until done.

If you don’t have a Bread ‘n Cake Bake, just follow this recipe, and follow a similar bread recipe for baking in an oven, as far as temperature and time goes.

When I finished baking, I let it cool completely before slicing it in half, wrapping it up, and giving away half of it to my awesome personal trainer, a boxer who won his fight two weekends ago.

Because everyone deserves a little treat.

Things I’ve Learned from ‘Will & Grace’

The cast from my favorite show, Will & Grace

The cast from my favorite show, Will & Grace

I know watching TV, especially in excessive amounts, is generally looked down upon. But I’ve found that the more I watch, the more things I learn, so I’ll continue on my mission to prove that TV is actually good for the brain.

And when it comes to relationships, and life in general, I’ve learned a lot of things from (repeatedly) watching all eight seasons of “Will & Grace” on DVD.

So, here goes:

  1. Married men do cheat. Okay, so I didn’t necessarily learn this from watching “Will & Grace,” but it doesn’t matter how many times I see season six, when Leo (Grace’s husband, played by Harry Connick, Jr.) cheats on Grace with his coworker, it still tears my heart in half.
  2. Taye Diggs will always be fine as hell. Toward the end of the series, Will meets a man named James (Taye Diggs) at the movie theatre. They hit it off, and run into each other later at a resort, fall in love, and arrange for him to marry Grace so he doesn’t get deported. He ends up being a complete asshole, but still…Taye Diggs.
  3. Jennifer Lopez laughs with us. She makes a few guest appearances on the show, completely making fun of herself (mocking her busy schedule with music, book signings, clothing line, perfumes, etc.), and I kind of like her a little for it.
  4. We go for what we know. It’s a running joke on the show that Grace repeatedly dates gay men, because she lives with Will.
  5. No one is perfect. Sometimes characters in fiction novels or sitcoms are a little too perfect. What I love about Will & Grace is that a big part of the humor on the show is them making fun of each other, sometimes over their flaws.
  6. Friends are really, really important. It seems like everything in pop culture focuses on romantic relationships, and since I’ve been single, for, well, 100 years, I like seeing the spotlight on something other than that. Sure, the characters on Will & Grace have dated and been married, but the show always comes back to their lifelong friendship.

You know I had a dream once. To be rich and beautiful and have a great body. Oh look, my dream came true.

—Karen Walker, Will & Grace

To see what I’ve learned from watching The Hills, click here.

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