Spoonful of Sugar Vol. 4. Christmas Edition.

I was going to post a sugary and delicious cookie recipe for this week’s installment of A Spoonful of Sugar, but I couldn’t stand to make and add more sweets around me this time of year to show y’all pictures, but isn’t it sweet enough that tomorrow is Christmas? Since this series allows me to highlight awesome things done by awesome people to help others, I think it’s only fair to dedicate this post to the real reason for the season.
While it’s nice to give and receive Christmas presents, it is important to remember why we do this. It’s much like a communion in remembrance of the birth (instead of death, like the actual communion) of Jesus that we observe once a year. This time of year, about 2000 years ago God as Jesus humbled himself and came down to earth as a man. Fully God and fully man. Inconceivable, but true. He was born in a little town of no importance to a young girl and her also young, carpenter fiancé in the middle of a cold winter night. Even with this humble arrival, it was known that Jesus was the King to save us all. So we celebrate his birthday by giving gifts much like the wise men who came bearing those strange gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh. I probably personally would have brought blankets, diapers, and tiny socks, him being a baby and all, but that wouldn’t have made such a profound statement and probably wouldn’t have been bible-worthy news…
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all find peace and togetherness this holiday and remember why we do this as you enjoy giving and getting your presents!

What I Did Last Summer. Part 1.

” After the war, I was grateful to have survived, and realized that the most important thing in life – human relations. They are much more important than wealth, food, luxury, career, the most important thing in the world. “

I’ll bet you don’t know what I did last summer…but I’ll tell you because I’m a little proud of it. I tracked down and watched every Audrey Hepburn movie from 1951 to 1989! It was fantastic, well most of it anyway, she hit a rough patch in the late ’60s on through the ’80s. I love her, but her career could have ended even more smoothly had she not returned from her hiatus that started after the movie Wait Until Dark in 1967. Here is her filmography through Breakfast at Tiffany’s (thanks IMDb, you helped a lot in my search!) and I’ll let you know which ones are worth a watch:

One Wild Oat (1951)

Laughter in Paradise (1951)

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

We Will All Go To Monte Carlo (1951) I haven’t seen any of the full movies up through this movie simply because it is terribly difficult and it’s quite possible that it is impossible to find old foreign films.

Young Wives’ Tale (1951) I found this one on YouTube. Audrey plays a small, almost invisible part in a film about 2 pairs of spouses who share a home and get into a tricky situation when they try to deceive the nanny.

The Secret People (1952) Another bit part for Audrey that can be found on YouTube. Her character and her character’s sister are evacuated from a Nazi invaded country and brought to live with a relative. The sister and her old flame are reunited after a decade but he is now a member of an underground resistance. They get mixed up with the vigilante resistance group and a bomb while Audrey dances.

We Go To Monte Carlo (1953) I couldn’t find this one anywhere either. If you know where I can find it, I would really appreciate a link in the comments!

Roman Holiday (1953) Her first Hollywood film, the start of it all. Audrey was spotted by William Wyler for this film, so when she finished touring for the Broadway play, GiGi, they started filming on location in Rome. She and Gregory Peck starred in this black and white film. It was one of the first to be shot in location abroad. Audrey plays a princess of unknown origin that is making a good will world tour of sorts. While in Rome, she sneaks away one night from the royal duties and obligations. She is helped and discovered by a broke news reporter from New York who decides to do an undercover article about her worth a lot of money. He shows her around Rome with his photographer friend (who has an awesome lighter camera I must have), but the catch is that they fall in love. Will she pick love or duty? Will he pick money or integrity? This one is an absolute must-see! It’s funny, and sad, and it’s really cool to see all around Rome.

Sabrina (1954) Another must-see! Audrey collaborated with French designer Hubert de Givenchy for the first time in this black and white film and set fashion trends that still hold today. She looked simply elegant which became her signature style. The story is great too and her costars were William “Bill” Holden and Humphrey “Bogey” Bogart. Sabrina Fairchild (Hepburn) was the daughter of the chauffeur on the estate owned by the rich and powerful Larabees. She has always adored and had a crush on the younger brother, David, but the family doesn’t approve so the older brother, Linus, cooks up a plan to divert her attentions from David and send her back to Paris where she went to cooking school and developed her stunning style sense. The dialogue is witty and entertaining. Every time I make eggs (practically everyday) I say to myself (or out loud) “one, two, three, crack! New egg.” because of this movie. [Does anybody else who’s seen this movie do that, or am I alone?]

War and Peace (1956) This one is a total yawn. It is the film representation of Tolstoy’s novel of the same name. I had a hard time getting through the movie and no matter what fictional character Rory Gilmore enjoys reading, I don’t think I’ll be reading the book anytime soon. She played a girl named Natasha and costarred with Henry Fonda and her future husband and father of her first child, Mel Ferrer. I literally fast forwarded through all of the fighting scenes until I saw conversing people after the first hour. Not worth your three hours unfortunately…

Funny Face (1957) Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire! What a pair! What is with all the old guys they paired her with? All of these men had at least ten years on her! But anyway, this movie is a musical that I enjoyed because of the prominent comedic element, but my brothers despised. It is definitely a chick flick. Old school chick flick. In this one you can really see Audrey’s dance training show through. It’s not quite the same style that she trained, but it must have taken poise and dedication and flexibility. This film probably had an impact on her later being cast as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964) because of her transformation (not unlike that of Sabrina). In the film she is a book shop employee that lives and believes the theory of empathicalism and she gets swept up to Paris by the pompous fashion magazine people as the “it” girl. Her motive for going is to meet a famous professor/philosopher, in the end her high hopes get dented, but he (Astaire) loves and she (Hepburn) loves so they apparently live happily ever after.

Love in the Afternoon (1957) This one’s a little more seedy and the end a little more uncertain because of censure laws of the era. I could take or leave this movie, but saying that, I have seen it twice. Audrey plays a young, French cellist whose father is a private detective who investigates an American playboy. Adrienne (Hepburn) saves this despicable man’s life, and falls in love with him, but to keep him intrigued, she pretends to have had more flings and affairs than he which makes him jealous, but her plan works.

Green Mansions (1959) Another yawn, I literally fell asleep multiple times during it, but I was working a lot that week. Directed by her husband Mel Ferrer and was obviously a low-budget film. Audrey plays Rima the Bird Girl in the story based on William Henry Hudson’s novel.I had to get Amazon to make a copy specifically for me because it doesn’t exist anywhere else and I paid way too much for it, but I was dedicated to my goal of seeing all of Audrey’s movies.

The Nun’s Story (1959) Probably my favorite of Audrey Hepburn’s films. She plays a young girl who wants very badly to become a nurse and help out in Congo so she becomes a nun. It’s based on a true story and Audrey spent some time in a convent learning what it takes to be a nun and how they live and behave. She did a fantastic job, especially for her first very serious, dramatic role. Fun fact: they had her actually hair stylists cut the wig in the scene so that some one who was comfortable cutting that close to Hepburn’s head was doing it so that their hands didn’t shake. Her character becomes a nun, gets sent to the Congo as the top of her class, meets a handsome doctor, falls ill, gets sent back to the convent indefinitely because of the war, leaves the convent and returns to the Congo to continue her work. This is a fabulous movie and makes me respect her all the more.

The Unforgiven (1960) Did Audrey Hepburn seem like the type to be in westerns? I didn’t think so, and still don’t. In the movie they tried to insinuate that she was dark skinned like an indian, but in reality, living in the south west would color anyone’s skin. I’m not falling for it for a second. It’s a typical western, with a twist: Audrey Hepburn.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Her most iconic and well-know film. Just about everyone knows what you’re talking about if you mention Holly Golightly and almost everybody knows this is where the little black dress (the LBD) comes from. This movie cemented her status as a fashion icon and her collaboration with Givenchy. The movie is based off of Truman Capote’s novella with a few tweaks for Audrey. Capote and many involved originally wanted Marilyn Monroe to star, but I’m glad they didn’t because the movie would have been extremely trashy, Audrey added at least a tint of dignity to the role. Holly is a call girl who falls for a kept man who aspires to be a writer but has given up. They become neighbors, then friends, and have some wacky experiences that include a no name cat.

The second half to be posted at a later date – TTFN! 🙂

How to Survive Winter.

If I could only impart to you one piece of advice about surviving winter, I would have to say layers. Yes, layers. They are the secret to survival, but the beautiful thing about having a blog is that I get to impart so much of my acquired knowledge about surviving winter after spending almost ten years in Alaska! So here it is, everything you need to know about surviving everyday life in negative degree weather.

**Now, one disclaimer: this post is not being pretentious, it only covers those who go to work, school, run errands, etc., not those outdoor, adventure-loving (crazy) people who do outdoorsy things like ski and snowboard and hike in the snow and cold. I wouldn’t mind, though, if people shared in the comments what you would need if you were crazy into those sorts of activities…

Now that the temperatures are getting to be sub-zero during parts of the day (if they’re not for you, then I’m jealous and you should be expecting a house guest shortly), I figure it’s high time to share what I’ve learned about standard mobility and the winter. First of all, car care. Take care of your car and get studded tires on as soon as is legal because snow and ice are unpredictable. Also, keep in mind that gas doesn’t go as far when you have to warm up your car for 10 to 20 minutes before leaving the house, and the road conditions can be dangerous, so try to limit your driving. Keep extra clothes in your car. It’s important to keep extra gloves, sweatshirts, jackets, hats, etc. for those times you think you left prepared but didn’t. Also, if you feel compelled to help somebody on the street by handing them extra gloves or a hat, that will make someone very happy and will make you feel like a hero.

In the summer it’s sun screen that is a life saver, but in the winter it is most definitely chap stick. And gloves…but lips will get chapped walking from your front door to your car; it happens that fast. This phenomenon drives me crazy, so I usually keep some Burt’s Bees balm in my coat pocket, but mom loves her Carmex- that’s a personal preference and it’s up to you what kind floats your boat!

Take up knitting, or find some really good books to keep you entertained while you stay warn in your house. Invite friends over for meals and get togethers so you seem polite while not having to leave the warmth of your house to see your friends. I would also recommend owning a treadmill because people, me included, tend to get lazy without being able to go out for a walk or a bike ride, especially with all the holiday related eating. First, there’s Halloween where candy is everywhere and lasts at least a month, lingering around your house, tempting you to eat it. Then, there’s a holiday that is just about eating, and giving thanks, but mostly eating. Some people cook for days and all that comfort food; mashed potatoes, stuffing, casseroles, etc., last a week or two, and finally the Christmas baking. There are always festive cookies and fudges and treats…so the treadmill or an elliptical or spin bike would be really great options to have in your home so you can spin while you watch Elf and A Christmas Story by the toasty fireplace. 🙂

What are your go to tips for winter?

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Spoonful of Sugar Vol. 3

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There are few Christmas songs out there that I want to listen to and I almost dread listening to the mundacity (I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but using the same words as everyone else is mundane too, right?) of the same upbeat or creepy holiday songs playing over and over. BUT, Danielle Ate the Sandwich just released a homemade Christmas album with Christmas covers and new holiday-themed originals tonight! So get your digitally downloadable copy right here! This spoonful of sugar will help the remainder of your Monday and holiday season go down in the most delightful way!

Happy Monday and happy holiday season!