Friday, December 30, 2016

Books I Read (Sept-Dec)

This is a big post. 
I should've published it at the end of October, 
but I didn't and here it is. 
The gargantuan book post. 



The association of small bombs 
By Karan Mahajan 

Proof that a cool bookcover means nothing. 
Horrible slow miserable book. 
Sooooo slow. 
Like 28 chapters too long (there's 32 in total). 
I seriously regret the time I wasted reading it. 



The Caped Crusader 
By Glen Weldon 

The premise of this book is pretty cool, 
explaining how the rise of batman affected "nerd culture." 
I was thinking it would be similar to Ready Player One 
where I could have no knowledge of video games 
(or in this case, comic books) 
and still enjoy the book. 
I mean, I've seen Christian Bale's batman. 
Isn't that good enough? 
Unfortunately that was not the case. 
It was so heavily focused on the actual comics that it meant nothing to me. 



The Joy of Less 
By Francine Jay 

This is Marie Kondo Lite. 
Many similar concepts but not as passionate or pushy. 
I most definitely favor Marie Kondo. 




Harry Potter Series 
by J.K. Rowling

THIS. 
This I needed. 
I had been striking out left and right on books (see above, and previous months
and needed something to DIVE into. 
As a tween/teen, I had read Harry Potter up until book #3 and then stopped. 
This time I read the whole series and OH MY. 
I just loved it. 
It reignited my little nerd mania all over again. 

(Also a thank-you to Allena for saving me when I accidentally skipped a book in the series.)

For fun, if I could sum up the books, I would say: 

Sorcerer's Stone: The Intro to it All. 
Chamber of Secrets: Follow the Clues. 
Prisoner of Azkaban: Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. HOLY SHIT. 
'Goblet of Fire: Wizards' Hunger Games  
Order of the Phoenix: Everyone has PMS
Half-Blood Prince: Ohhhhh, so that's what happened. 
Deathly Hallows: Something only happens every 5th chapter 

My favorites were the Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire. 



Rich and Pretty 
By Ruuman Alam

This book is about nothing, 
there's no plot at all. 
Yet it's absolutely captivating 
And I absolutely, totally loved it. 

It reminds me a little of Park Avenue Primates (a better book than this) 
and Crazy Rich Asians (not as good as this), 
in that it delves into the life of the top wealthy 0.1%. 
Me, I like learning about the top 0.1%. 
It's like window shopping in an expensive mall. 
But some people find it petty. Whatever. 

The most shocking part is that it written by a man, 
YET he totally nails that long-time female friendship. 




The Hating Game 
by Sally Thorne

I freaking loved this book. 
This was a very predicable, cliche chick-lit book 
And, again, I absolutely LOVED IT. 
It's a very simple, light read. 
It hits emotions perfectly
without spending 25 paragraphs spelling it out (yawn). 
I looked forward to reading it every night 
and was actually disappointed when it ended
 (although the end is truly awesome), 
which definitely says something about a book! 




The Singles Game 
By Lauren Weisberger 

I absolutely loved this book. 
Sometimes I worry reading a second book by an author I liked 
(she wrote "The Devil Wears Prada") 
but I think I liked this even better than the first. 
It has sex, action, betrayal, and a great bad guy (guys?). 

Also, let's admit I thought it was about dating because "singles," 
not about tennis. LOL. 





Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of 2016

I did this in 2014 and wish I had done it in 2015. 
A little snapshot of our year. 


Best Family Photo of 2016


Our holiday card, taken at the beach in September. 
My friend nicely photoshopped my hair which was all over the place. 
We decided to leave the little tuft on Oliver's head, because it was cute. 


Best IG Photo of 2016



Aaron holding 11-day-old Oliver. 
This is still my phone wallpaper. 
I just love Oliver's tiny-ness and Aaron's sweet gaze. 
Even now, Aaron is a really awesome big brother. 
He has just blown away our expectations. 


Best Movie of 2016: 
Dead pool 



I can't believe I'm putting a comic book movie on here 
but it was so unexpectedly good! 
I was totally blown away by how funny it was 
and how shockingly good Ryan Reynolds was! 
Yes of course there were some too-long fight scenes but overall it was a big winner. 


Best TV Show of 2016: 
This Is Us. 



We dove into the world of Netflix shows this year 
but this simple network tv show is the best. 
I laugh, cry, and get all warm and fuzzy every episode. 
Winner! 

I wanted to put Gilmore Girls on here, 
but unfortunately it didn't live up to the hype I had hoped for. 


Best Book of 2016: 
Ready Player One


(Reviewed in my March-April series)
Ready Player One barely eeked out the Harry Potter series as best book I read this year 
(it was actually published 2011). 
Like Deadpool above, it was so unexpectedly good that it totally sticks in my memory as WOW. 


Best New Song of 2016 : 
Rachel Platten's Stand By You



Just like her "fight song" this is my favorite as a super-powerful, motivational song. 
The perfect song to run to! 

(Runner Up: P!nk's "Just Like Fire" - also amazing running song)


Best New Recipe: 
This was a masterpiece meal and still is a top favorite. 
Every time I make it, we eat them moaning: "oh they are so good" 

(Runner Up: Blue Apron's Seared Chicken & Udon Noodles, which is where I FINALLY learned how to cook chicken!)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gilmore Girls : A Year in the Life

Warning: nothing but spoilers ahead 

***

I was an original Gilmore Girls lover. 
I still own the DVD boxes series, 
except the 7th season because that should never have been filmed. 
So needless to say, I was psyched for the revival. 
And even though it came out on Black Friday, 
I JUST finished it now because I'm slooooow. 
I could rattle off excuses like kids and husbands and stuff, 
but truthfully I'm just slow. 

***



The chronological order of my thoughts runs as: 

"Ahhh, it feels so good to be back. I love it.  All the heart eyes!!!! 
.. Uh, I don't like this development, but ok. 
... Wait, wtf?  This is stupid 
... Noooo, it's the 7th season all over again! 
... Make it stop! Make it stop! 
... Ok it's redeeming itself. 
... YES YES YES THAT WAS AMAZING. 
ALL THE HEART EYES."

*** 

Some more specific thoughts... 


- WHY KEEP THE THEME SONG UNTIL THE VERY END? WHY WHY WHY


- Rory as a mistress. No. 
Didn't we already learn that she sucks at this with Dean?  
DO WE LEARN NOTHING? 


- Star Hollow musical: 
Did they film the whole thing and realize they were 30 min short? 
Because that's what it felt like. 


- I never liked Logan. 
Or Jess. 
I admit this was a major problem with my relationship with Gilmore Girls. 
I always loved Dean; I still love Dean. 
Sucks


- That said, now that Milo Ventimiglia is the dad in This Is Us, 
it totally transforms his Jess character 
and now I think he's very appealing (personality, not looks).  


- I do love Luke more than life. 
Everything about Luke is perfection. 


- Also Emily Gilmore, particularly at the DAR, is outstanding. Out-stand-ing. 
Kelly Bishop should win an Emmy for her performance. 
(I googled it; she hasn't) 


- The greatest role Melissa McCarthy will ever play (in my mind) is Sookie. 
She was the best ever. 


- I know lots of people felt "meh" about the ending. 
I didn't see it coming and I loved it for that reason. 



Update
Far better writers than I at the NY Times wrote up a review of Gilmore Girls and I agree 101% with their review here

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Velcro Baby

We need to talk about this man here. 



If you follow me on snapchat (theColeBin) 
you most definitely know that Oliver is a Velcro Baby to the highest degree. 
He is attached to me at all times


I first joked about his Velcro baby status 
when he was a newborn and just wanted to live eternally in the solly wrap
That was fine because under 10 lbs, a front-carry baby is nothing. 



From 3-months to around 5-months, 
he transformed into the most chill baby ever. 
He never fussed or demanded attention. 
Everyone commented on how he was so easy and flexible, 
and literally just the greatest baby ever. 


Then somewhere around 5-months, 
he changed his mind. 
He didn't like being an easy-going baby anymore. 
He got really fussy, 
which we attributed to teething. 
(2 months later and not a tooth in sight.) 

Now, he just insists on being with Mama 24/7. 

If I walk out of the room, he cries

If he leave him on the floor, highchair, or any other baby device too long, 
even if he can still see mehe cries

If he's in someone else's care for more than an hour or two, 
he loses his shit

My middle sister has been helping me out Wednesday nights for 2 hours, 
so I can do awesome things like get waxed, 
get my nails done, 
and shop Target alone 
(I know, I know, I lead a crazy life - snort). 
And last Wednesday I texted I was heading home and she replied: 
"Thank you, Jesus. Oliver hates me.

And bedtime... LOL LOL
No one except me has put him to bed since pre-bottle strike at 3-months. 
No one. 
And this Saturday, my youngest sister is babysitting so we can go see Rogue One 
(proud Star Wars nerds!) 
and the movie is at 6:30. 
So please send lots of prayers our way because my sister is going to die.
And she doesn't drink so I can't repair the damage with alcohol, sigh!



Aaron was NEVER like this. 
But with Aaron I was a Working Mom. 
He was in the care of grandmothers and daddy and daycare. 

True, he was a mama's boy through and through (still is), 
but not in the I-must-be-attached-at-your-hip way. 


Oliver is my Velcro Baby. 


On one hand, yes, I'm totally flattered. 
And kind of love it. 
He won't be this small forever. 
And some day I'll cry missing these days. 


I also know that it won't hold him back. 
Oliver has ZERO interest in crawling because
 "why crawl when Mommy can carry you?" 
Which was the EXACT attitude of my husband. 
Adam refused to walk until well past 18 months old 
because he just wanted to be on his mom's hip. 
My in-laws had to Red Shirt him as a kindergartener 
because he wasn't emotionally ready to leave his mama's legs. 

A few decades later, and Adam graduated 1st in his law school
He turned out ok after all. 


So yes, Oliver is my Velcro baby. 
And all hail the makers of the soft-shell baby carrier because it is MY LIFE. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Happy Holiday Shit

"Why the hell do we have to be so politically correct all the time?" 
"Why does everything have to be Happy Holidays?" 
"I'm an American and I say 'Merry Christmas' dammit!" 


These were phrases that have been voiced by Past Tense Emily. 
The Emily who grew up in the Whitest of White areas in America, 
and who never met a Jew until I met my husband. 
Because, after all, if the vast majority of people celebrate Christmas, 
why do we have to accommodate the 0.01% who don't? 


Obviously meeting and marrying Adam changed a lot, 
as I learned just how hard it is to find Hanukkah wrapping paper. 
But having kids has changed my mind even more. 
(Hell, having kids has changed my mind on literally every subject known to mankind)


I've talked about before how we don't "do Santa." 
And in prior years it was no big deal at all. 
Aaron would do the Santa crafts, 
and see Santa at my work Christmas party, 
and come home to presents "from mommy and daddy" 
and light the menorah 
and it was all good. 



But now Aaron is 3.5, 
and he's starting to ask questions. 
A LOT OF QUESTIONS. 
99% of them coming from preschool, 
which is a private school and thus can do a pretty heavy Santa emphasis. 


Recently Aaron came home asking:
"How does Santa come to our house?  We don't have a chimney." 

Now, this puts me as a parent in a pretty tricky spot. 
On one hand, I'm absolutely comfortable explaining that Santa is a pretend character, 
just like Elmo and Daniel Tiger.
Just like we explain vampires, witches, and mummies on Halloween, 
so Santa is a character in the holiday, 
but he's not real

BUT if I explain that to Aaron, 
guess what he's going to do? 
He's going to march back to preschool and declare: 
"SANTA ISN'T REAL" 
which is going to be CHAOS. 
And quickly earn us the MOST HATED FAMILY in all of preschool. 


So I'm in a tough spot. 
I don't want to compromise what Adam and I agree (not "do" Santa). 
But I also don't want my kid dashing all the other hopes and dreams 
of all the other children in school. 


On a much more difficult level, 
our niece and nephew attend the same preschool, 
and they are - what I like to call - "full Jew," 
as in 100% Hanukkah, 0% Christmas
So it puts my sister-in-law and brother-in-law in an even worse position, 
since they don't do anything with Christmas 
(no trees, no stockings, etc) 
so how do they explain Santa to their kid, 
without also being the most hated family at preschool?


I don't have answers for any of the above. 

But I do have a newfound appreciation for the neutral holiday celebration. 
Because if the teachers aren't pushing Santa, 
then we don't have to worry about our kid dashing the other kids' dreams. 

If we just stick to nice neutral snowmen and winter holidays, 
there's less likelihood that my Santa-Is-Pretend-Child will make the Santa-Loving-Children cry. 


Oh, and when Aaron asked how Santa got in our house, I replied: 
"What do you think?" 
And he thought for a moment then said: 
"I think he climbs through the TV." 
... 
Has anyone seen the movie The Ring (2002)? 
Because now I have visions of a dead Santa clawing his way out of a TV, 
coming to kill us. 
So there's that. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Wishlist

I think it was Christmas 2014 where I went nuts blogging over Christmas wishlists. 
I promise I won't be that crazy this year. 

This year I'm sticking to just MY wishlist. 


Lily Jade Diaper Bag 
with Jade interior 
$325

ALL THE HEART EYES. 
I've been lusting after these diaper bags for years. 
YEARS. 
I've seen them on Grace Patton 
and Kelsey and my lusting has continued forever. 
I've owned a Timi & Leslie bag which is very good 
(their key-hook ring is a game-changer) 
but it's not leather. 
And my heart belongs to leather. 



Pottery Barn Faux Throw 
Alpaca 
$100

OK, so this is a total luxury don't-need. 
We have so many blankets in our house. 
But I've read amazing reviews of these throws, 
and the rich creamy texture... oh la la. 
Trust me, I'd never let the kids within 10 feet of this blanket. 
I'd hide it away in my room only for ME ME ME 
like the good selfish mom that I am. 
But doesn't it just scream "relaxing and reading"???






Braun Wet Epilator 
$90-120

Long story short, 
I started using an epilator a few years ago, 
and although I really love my soft caress one
the inconvenience of drying off AFTER the shower was annoying, 
and I just want one for IN the shower. 


SMALL Stainless Steel Roasting Pan 
$60

There's a lot I love about our house. 
Lots of things. 
One of them is NOT our 1960s kitchen, 
slated to be remodeled in the next 5 years. 
And meanwhile has one of those ovens that can't fit a full cookie sheet. 
All my gorgeous roasting pans are stored away until the remodel, 
so I'm looking for decent cookware to get my through the next few years. 




One-Line-a-Day Memory Book 
$14

I thought this was super cute. 
Something I wouldn't buy for myself, 
but would use if someone got it for me. 
Each page is one day, with 5 years, 
so every day you write a blurb or sentence about your day. 
And can compare to all previous years. 
I think it's super cute and simple. 




GIR (Get It Right) Spatula 
$20

Oh, spatulas. 
They are annoying. 
I thought I was getting nice ones for my wedding; 
they were Kitchen Aid. 
Isn't Kitchen Aid supposed to be good? 
But the heads sometimes fall off, 
and they often don't have enough control (read: too rubbery). 
After a little bit of research, I found these, 
which I think may be promising. 
(Any other suggestions for good spatulas?) 




The Great Escape DVD 
$5

My dad loved WWII movies, 
and I have very fond memories of watching this with him as a young kid. 
As WWII movies go, it was pretty "light" 
(no Holocaust or brutal killings) 
which made it favorable for me as a little kid. 
I'm really hoping Adam puts this in my stocking. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

High Maintenance

I was having a conversation 
about someone's ex-girlfriend who I'd never met. 
For the sake of not naming names, 
we'll call this person Elizabeth. 
(It's my favorite girls name although I'd never use it on a child.)
 
Elizabeth: "You think you are high maintenance, she was much more high maintenance." 
Me: "I didn't think I was high maintenance." 
Elizabeth: "Well you are much more high maintenance than I am." 

Before I could say anything, 
our conversation was interrupted. 
Later, I thought of bringing it up again, 
asking how Elizabeth thought I was so high maintenance, 
but if there's one thing I'm trying to be better about, 
is just letting shit go
(Not that I'm great at it, but hey, I'm at least making an effort.) 


So I never brought it up again. 

The funny thing is that I consider this Elizabeth to be a very high maintenance individual. 
Yes, she's a fun person - always the life of the party. 
But she's also prone to holding really bad grudges for really stupid shit
And then she'll tell EVERYONE that she's mad at the person, 
meanwhile the actual perpetrator rarely has any idea. 
So you have to tread lightly around Elizabeth, 
or else you'll wind up in the doghouse for months. 
Either until you apologize (that is, if you can figure out what you did) 
or someone else convinces her to get over it. 


And that's why I consider Elizabeth to be high maintenance. 
Clearly, Elizabeth does not share my view. 


So it got me thinking, 
what do YOU consider to be high maintenance? 


NEEDY

When I think of high maintenance, 
I think of someone who is needy
Someone who can't do anything for themselves. 

Which is why I consider myself NOT high maintenance, 
because I am incredibly independent. 
And generally prefer to do it myself anyway because #controlfreak. 
(Except when it comes to killing spiders... EEEK


Materialistic 

I think of high maintenance as someone who is obsessed with stuff
Someone who HAS TO have the nicest, most expensive things. 
Someone who wants to be showered with gifts. 

I'm not saying I don't like nice things, 
but you don't see me demanding expensive shit. 
I know our finances and I know what we can afford. 
And I'm very prepared for the day that Adam may quit Big Law Firm, 
and may take a paycut going to In-house Legal. 
That's fine by me as long as he stops 3am nights!


Tread Lightly! 

As with Elizabeth above, 
I think of high maintenance people as those so emotionally unstable, 
that you  have to tread lightly around them for fear of upsetting them. 

Me? I'm not afraid of controversial topics or confrontations. 
And I hope no one is afraid of having them with me. 
I won't hold a grudge. 


So what do you think? 
When you think high maintenance, what do you envision? 
What kind of attributes do you associate with a high maintenance person? 




Also did you know there is an HBO show called "High Maintenance"? 
It has to do with a pot dealer. 
LOL.