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Merry Christmas

In the Christmas spirit, and following my mom’s duties to expose Isabella to the different festivities we have ahead. I planned everything perfectly; I bought Isabella a book with a ginger bread house, and we read the book so many times, that she quickly flipped through the pages and went directly to the “candy house.” She loved it, and she would make me describe it over and over. When she was excited enough about making her own ginger bread house, we went shopping, and I bought a pre-made ginger house. I could picture the fun we would have. Baby and mommy making the house together, the result: a gorgeous and beautiful ginger house, just like in the book. Oh, the sweet smell of success.

So we woke up early, just the two of us. We opened the box, and started the process. Panel A & C together, then panel B&D, a lot of frosting in between, and my house was standing. Instructions, who needs them anyways, my house is starting to look great. Then, I added a panel here and there, and voila, the roof was there. Now for the fun stuff, the candy. By that time, my hubby joined us, and he put the frosting on the roof, while I put candy on top – lalalalala. A just like that, our little house started falling apart. First the roof – hold it, hold it, while I get something to hold it – I cried. – Hurry up –  he said while he laughed nervously. Then – Oh #hkhkjfhhg – he thought, while I heard the crack.

This is what was left. Oh, boy if we messed up this experience for Isabella I thought while we laughed at each other. Only then, we learned that we need to wait for the frosting to dry. C’mon, a pre-made house, and I mess up. Luckily, Isabella didn’t mind. This was a happy accident for her because now she is really able to play with her ginger bread house. And oh boy, she had fun.

ginger bread house disaster

ginger bread house gone bad

If this doesn’t say I’m happy, I don’t know what does.

ginger bread house

So that day, I learned a good lesson. Let the frosting dry first.

Merry Christmas.

Black Swan – Weekend Movie Recommendations

It’s date day for Danny and myself, and we head out to the movies. With so many titles, we can’t decide. Either we watch his girlfriend’s – Natalie Portman – film, or my boyfriend Johnny Deep. It’s a tough decision, so we watch both.

movie recommendations

Ever since I saw the trailer of Black Swan, it was on my list of must see films. Darren Aronofsky is an incredibly talented director and storyteller. He knows how to make the audience feel what he wants them to feel. The film is visceral, and not for everyone much like his previous films Pi and Requiem for a Dream. But on this film, you see a more mature director. The cinematography is spectacular, specially during the mirror sequence. Unbelievable how you don’t see the camera.

The only spoiler for me was having read a review from Vanity Fair the night before, which basically gave away the ending. The words of my professors sounded true at that moment, never read reviews. But even though I knew some of the plot and twists, I enjoyed every single moment of it. The story is not new, but it feels fresh, even with its darker tone. And kudos to Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, both are such accomplished actresses. Natalie Portman gives such a wonderful performance; she is both fragile and freeky and definitely worthy of an Academy nomination. When you have an actress of the caliber of Natalie Portman is hard to imagine a young actress who is able to be side by side with her without being overcast. Mila Kurnis pulls it off wonderfully. Her performance is remarkable and confirms her as one of the great actress of the new generation.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.

As for The Tourist. I’m glad I saw it to get it out of my system, but I wonder how can you have Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie and still get it wrong, specially when the film was written and directed by director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck who received an Oscar for The Lives of Others. Johnny Depp is sadly miscast, and although it’s original, the film seems like a bad remake of a 1950’s movie with Audrey Hepburn. If you can, just wait for the DVD.

Thankfulness – Weekend movie recommendations

Very often, I feel thankful: for my wonderful family, my great friends, clients, life, food and the roof over my head. I just look at Isabella sleep, and I caress happiness with my fingers. And during this time of the year, I feel specially thankful. They joy is everywhere and with everyone. We just had Thanksgiving, Christmas is coming, and even when the music is not playing I hear bells ringing. Right now, life is simply jolly.

But there are other times, when I forget to be thankful. I work, and work and work, and I forget to look around. It is during this time, that even when the music is playing, I don’t hear a thing. Even when the laughter is contagious, I’m thinking of the next thing on my list. It is during this time, that I need films to remind to be Thankful.

This week, I’m recommending films that made think and cry.

movie recommendations

Serafine – It’s a magnificent film based on the life of Serafine de Senlis, played by Yolande Moreau, who gave a remarkable performance. If you love filmmaking and storytelling, you will love this film. It touched me in some many levels that I can’t begin to describe.
Foreign ** featured ** available on Netflix Instant Watching – Starring Yolande Moreau and Ulrich Tukur

My sister’s keeper
I recommend this film only to people who have not read the book. Normally, I don’t cry watching films. Correction, I never cry watching films, but I admit, this one was the One. Danny is the type of person who cries even with a soap opera, and he not shy about it, so it’s OK for me to publicly say that about him, so obviously, you could expect that he would cry during this one, but he just didn’t cry, he sobbed, and sobbed, and had to stop the movie, and when I saw him, naturally, I cried with him. This movie made thankful for my daughter and the fact that she is healthy. So you are warned, bring a box of tissues.
Contemporary. Starring: Cameron Diaz

It’s a wonderful life
What can I say about this film, that hasn’t been written already. It’s a must see film. “An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.”
Classic Directed by one of the best directors of all times, Frank Capra and staring James Stewart.

The Market + Pecan Pie

Some people love the mall, I love the market. I like to roam through markets, and even though I know them by heart, I always find something different. When I worked right above Grand Central, Danny and myself would walk through the Market almost every day. I love the smell of fresh roasted coffee, the delicious bread and pastries; the sight of beautiful and fresh flowers. Learning that there are more varieties of cheese than days in the calendar. Taking your time to pick the best apples and vegetables. Really, what is not to like?

I have happy trips to the market with Isabella. It is a big classroom for her, and even though she is only two, she helps me remember the things we need to buy. I love that she loves it.

Today, I introduced her to Holiday Foods, and my all time favorite holiday dessert: Pecan Pie, and Whole Foods makes the best out of the box pecan pie; it is so good. For me, holidays are not complete without it, and I guess I will be passing this tradition down to Isabella. That is why I love markets; they have a hand made and fresh quality that bring us closer, and just make me feel thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

PS. I do like shopping, but I prefer the open malls.

Around the kitchen table

I wake up to the noise of Isabella talking – loudly- my nephew and cousin in law are visiting, and she is utterly excited. They’re visiting for only a day, so every minute counts. We sit around an empty table; it’s 6:30 and the bakery isn’t open yet, so we chat. Isabella brings a different toy every two minutes, and asks for attention in a foreign language that is yet to be copyrighted.

It’s 8AM, and the smell of fresh bread and bacon invades the kitchen, my hubby has prepared a delicious and rich breakfast. When family is visiting, carb and fat diets don’t apply. We gather around the table again, and eat, and chat. Danny brings Isabella’s flash cards, and as any proud parent does, he tries to impress and bore our visitors with Isabella’s tricks. She performs marvelously, we clap, and she smiles because she loves the attention.

After breakfast, the kids are running; toys are making noise, people are talking. My uncle arrives, and we gather again around the table; he eats and we chat. The house is full of joy, and I ‘m fascinated at how life and family ties are cooked around the kitchen table.

word family

Weekend Movie Recommendations

Since the holidays are approaching, I thought of making a list of “make you feel good movies.”

movie recommendations

Romantic Comedies:
Love Actually follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England. Staring Hugh Grant. A friend recommended this movie, and although we were not a big fans of Bridget Jones’ Diary, I convinced Danny to watch it, and we both loved it.

Singing in the rain. Yes, I know it’s an “old” movie, and yes it’s a “musical”, but it is hands down, this is one of the funniest films ever. Trust me on this one, you’ll love it. I screened it here once, and one of my cousins avoided it because there wasn’t anything else, he sat down to watched and bought the movie for him later on; that’s how good it is. Staring Gene KellyDonald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds. A silent film production crew and cast makes the transition to talkies.

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. No holiday movie recommendation will be complete if I didn’t include a movie for the children of the house. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite films from when I was a kid. I could watch hundreds of times, and I could still enjoy it, so no doubt this will be a children’s favorite.

Weekend Movie Suggestions

If you don’t know by now, I’m a film lover. For me, there is nothing like watching a good film. I get immerse in the story and during that time, life stops, and I enter into this alternate universe of fantasy, drama, comedy, or whatever genre I feel like watching. Thankfully, Danny is my film watching partner, and he loves films as much as I do. And the best part of all is that we both like the same kind of films, which is not what I can say about some of our friends.

Why? Because we like so many different genres. Old Classic Films, BW films, Foreign films, Hollywood Blockbusters, Independent, old slapstick comedies, oh yeah, I love Charles Chaplin and I think “The Kid” is one of his best films, and I could go on.
After Films, computers, the internet, the ipod, gps, I believe Netflix, and its movie streaming, is one the world’s best technological creations. I could watch almost any film I want, whenever I want, from any genre I want. What else can I ask for after a long week of hard work? Movie and ice cream. It’s heaven!

So I thought of starting a weekly blog post with a few movie recommendations for the weekend.

movie recommendations

French Films. If the title scares you because you think grainy old and boring films, you’re wrong. French films are some of the best foreign films being made right now, with some of the best performances and actors. I dare you to watch one, and I can assure you will fall in love with them.

The Dinner Game – Each week, Pierre and his friends organize what is called as “un dîner de cons” where everyone brings the dumbest guy they could find as a guest. Directed by Francis Veber, one of my favorite French directors, known for have written the original screenplay of the Birdcage, and the Toy. This is the original version of Dinner for Schmucks.

The Valet – A porter and a top-model have to pretend to be a couple in order to salvage a CEO’s marriage. Starring Gad Elmaleh and directed by Francis Veber

Priceless – The funny story of a gold digger. Starring Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh

Note: Movie summaries taken from imdb

If you get to watch the film, let me know what you think.

Back to Basics

Thankfully, this has been a very busy and exciting year for The Wedding Central. Which of course meant a lot of hard work and little spare time to do almost anything else aside from work.

But now that the weather got colder, and the wedding season has slowed down, we get to have time back on our side.

So this weekend, we went out with some friends and took Isabella to The Liberty Science Center because we want to expose her to the wonders of learning. From the moment she walked into the toddler’s room, her face lit; she ran, fell, played and smiled at all the wonderful things she was discovering. As I looked at her, I took a mental picture of her happiness, and if I could preserve it for her, I will.

As we came out, we hopped, we sang, we laughed, and for a moment, I felt like a child again. And like a child, I was happy just to feel the wind touching my face.

In that place of discovery, I was reminded that in an age when time has become a luxury, sometimes we have to go back to the basics. Hop, laugh and live.

word family colors

Halloween 2010: Isabella Ballerina

This has been a very busy year. Between weddings, photo shoots, seminars and meetings, my free time during the weekends have been reduced to seldom trips to the window to see how the day is developing outside. Halloween was not the exception. For several weeks, I had planned to have a family day on Halloween and spend it outdoors, but because I forget to write family outings on my calendar, we scheduled a client meeting, which turned out to be a good thing because I got to know an amazing couple, and I also discovered that Isabella is still not that interested in weird looking people strolling through the streets.

So here are the lessons that I learned on Halloween: Unless you have a second costume as back up, don’t put a costume as soon as your toddler gets up. Get a picture as soon as you dress your toddler. Go trick or treating early in the day before people run out of candy.

Isabella Ballerina Halloween 2010

Isabella looks at these pictures as says Isabella Ballerina, just like one of her favorite characters Angelina BallerinaIsabella Ballerina Halloween 2010

And here is little tip for Halloween costume makers: Halloween costumes should also come in winter styles.