Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Best Greek Yogurt

I know what you're going to say.  "No Josh, the best Greek yogurt is _____."  Oh, let me come clean right now and let you know that this is Josh typing this post.  Wait, don't go!  I know what you're thinking, Josh never writes posts on the family blog.  Well just so you know that is simply not true.  I write posts all the time, like back in 2011 I wrote a really good one (What? Two words don't count?).  And in 2010 I wrote like five and even a couple in 2009.  I know what you're thinking, what about 2012?  Well after all my hard work on the blog, I was taking a hiatus that year, but don't worry, I'm back in business now...  Alright, you're right I never write.  It's almost like seeing a unicorn, so consider yourself lucky.

So back to my post.

The best Greek yogurt by far is FAGE (pronounced “fa-yeh”), and this is coming from a one time Greek yogurt hater.  I wanted to like it (Greek yogurt), I really did.  With all its amazing health qualities I was excited to try it and add it into my daily diet.  But every kind I would try just wasn't as good as my ol' Yoplait.  In fact I never wanted to finish the thing.  The texture was weird, the taste was different and nothing about it made me want to eat it except maybe the sugar.

But then Adele bought these FAGE yogurts from Costco, and she would never stop talking about them.  "Mmm, these are so good." She would say while shaking her head with joy.  "Wow, this was amazing." Her eyes would be closed dreaming of a cloud made of FAGE yogurt.  "Josh you should try one." She would say while looking at my growing gut. "Oh Josh these are the best things ever made ever." Is close to what she'd say like every day (or something like that).  After these comments I would look at her, then back at the the 0% number on the container and just smile and nod and say, "Maybe later."

About 0% fat foods.  I don't like them.  When we get frozen yogurt on our hot dates together I choose my flavor by picking the only one that isn't fat free, usually when I'm lucky there is at least one.  I didn't think I'd ever try this FAGE Greek yogurt out.

I don't know what it was, but finally the day came where I was "in the mood" to try one of these yogurts.  I was afraid I might take one bite and want to trash the rest.  That's what happened with the last kind I tried.  I took a raspberry out of the fridge, opened it up, and took a spoonful of the yogurt and dipped it in the raspberry sauce and then took a bite.  I was like, "That's not bad I don't think.  Perhaps that was a fluke.  Let's try another one."  I tried another one then another and soon it was all gone.  I wasn't in love when I was done, but I wasn't in hate either.  I could do this.  Now, I love it enough to come out of blog post hiatus to tell the world.

There is a science behind not having the fruit mixed in the Greek yogurt until right when you want to eat it.  FAGE did it on purpose saying it is better for Greek yogurt when you do that, and it must be true.   The texture of FAGE is just so much better than the rest. All the rest are no good (and yes that includes Chobani).

Buy FAGE Greek yogurt.  It is the best!

P.S. Yes I know it isn't Christmas anymore.  And Yes, it is my fault the banner is still in the Christmas spirit.  I was going to work on it, but then I wrote this wonderful post instead.  Yes, I know you would have rather had me replace the header image.  Next time.  I promise(ish).  Next time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Three: An Exclusive Interview

Bennett opens up about life as a three-year old in this candid interview. Includes never-before-seen footage and bonus interviews with two sources very close to him.

Happy birthday, Bennett! XOXO

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What I thought of the movies I saw in 2012

In order from not-so-much to favey faves:  

The Double 1/5 stars: Might be the worst movie ever. It's impossible to identify with the main character, the movie is incredibly violent, and the twist at the end doesn't even work. Sad excuse for a Russian spy movie.

Atlas Shrugged (Part 1) 1/5 stars: Poor acting. Halfway through the movie our two heroes sleep together even though he is married to someone else. I suppose capitalism makes us all selfish and only looking out for ourselves.

The Ghost Writer and The Final Cut 1/5: I'm putting these two together because they were both disappointing and had incredibly lame endings. Potential to be cool stories but no follow through.

The Amazing Spiderman 2/5: Nowhere near the quality of the Toby Maguire version. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The Vow 2/5: Yes, it was sweet. I didn't mind the story. I didn't mind the actors. I don't love romances generally, but it was okay for what it was. What got me was how much they had to show them in bed together. Sure, I get it, they're married, they love each other. I still don't want to watch that stuff.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 2/5: This movie was trying to be extremely profound and incredibly moving... but it just ended up being kind of long and a little bit annoying. If you're going to make a 9/11 movie, don't just count on it being moving because of the subject matter.

The Tree of Life 2/5: This looked like it could be really good. The preview was filled with artsy, stunning images and looked promising. But the film's three separate stories/themes were too much for just one movie... and they didn't really fit together. Sean Penn's character was totally irrelevant and a waste of film space. Sorry. Maybe I'm just not artsy enough to enjoy true artsiness.

The Yellow Handkerchief 3/5: This movie had kind of an indie feel to it. I watched it while Josh was out of town. A convict gets out of jail and goes on a roadtrip with two teenagers and none of them know each other at all. We keep seeing flashbacks of the convict guy that make us worry that he is going to do something to Bella. I mean Kristen Stewart. I would almost say it's worth watching, though, just to see a different facet of  Eddie Redmayne's (Marius from Les Mis) excellent acting. It's hard to believe he's the same actor.

Zookeeper 3/5: I got it because Josh was going out of town and I was looking for something he wouldn't want to watch. If I had known that Adam Sandler was one of the producers, the movie would have made muuuch more sense. It had lots of awkward, random Adam Sandler humor but it was fun enough. PG.

Wreck-It Ralph 3/5: The animation was pretty. Maybe it was the voice of Sarah Silverman that turned me off a little. Why do they always have adults do kid voices? Poor little Joshy cried when Ralph smashed the little girl's car. So apparently the movie was emotionally traumatizing.

Mirror Mirror 3/5: Can we talk eyebrows? When I first saw Snow White, all I could think of was how big and black her eyebrows were, but by the end of the film all I could think of was how beautiful she was. So apparently eyebrows grow on you... This movie was silly. You knew it would be.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green 3/5: Not bad. Sweet. I feel like something was missing... like they had a lot of potential with the story and didn't quite deliver. Still, not bad. Jennifer Garner did a great job and the kid was a cutie.

The Iron Lady 3/5: I enjoyed the depiction of Margaret Thatcher's relationship with her husband. It was charming. However, upon finishing the movie, Josh made the excellent point that it portrayed Margaret Thatcher as a bumbling, stubborn, senile old lady who has frequent hallucinations. Did the story have to be told that way? If someone made a movie based on your life while you were still alive, which aspects of your life would you want them to focus on? So perhaps this movie was pro-Margaret on the surface, but had a more subtle message that wasn't as positive.

The Dark Knight Rises 3/5: I kinda already reviewed this one. I'll just add that it's totally lame that Batman slept with that lady. He didn't know her that well and he never did that in the other movies even with the love of his life. Remember how Batman is supposed to be a hero?

Men In Black III 3/5: A fun idea. Definitely better than MIB2, but could we ever trump the first movie? The one that was the first of its kind, combining comedy and aliens and cool rappers? I also felt like MIB3 didn't quite close up its plot in a cohesive way. Not as satisfying as it could have been.

The Avengers 3.5/5: Please forgive me because maybe you loved this movie, but it was just so typical superheroes-fighting-lots-of-scary-bad-guys. I didn't find anything out of the ordinary about it. It was fun for what it was, but it didn't stand out to me.

Bernie 3.5/5: Hmmm. I still can't decide how I feel about this movie. Did you know it's based on a true story? And that Bernie is still alive? This is one of those stories that you feel weird laughing about but you don't know how else to deal with it. Maybe you should watch it and tell me what you think. Jack Black definitely at his finest.

The Adjustment Bureau 3.5/5: This was a cool idea. And you know I love Emily Blunt. I could have done without them waking up in bed together (if I remember correctly... it's been a while) but I liked the idea of the movie. It was creative.

Robin Hood 3.5/5: Bloody. Dramatic. Bloody. I did enjoy Cate Blanchett as Marion and I liked how the plot differed from the traditional Robin Hood story.

John Carter 3.5/5: If this movie had a better name, maybe it would have done better. Talk about the most boring title ever! Sometimes it felt a little silly to me but it was an enjoyable movie.

Battleship 3.5/5: This movie surprised me. I was expecting a typical Transformers type of movie (which I detest, by the way) full of lots of action and cool CGI but no good story. Look, I'm not going to lie, it was pretty typical in a lot of ways, but what I thought was awesome was how it was kinda making fun of itself. The monster's teeth flying out of its mouth in slow motion, the guy who gets arrested for trying to steal a burrito, the very unheroic hero. Also, I expected Rihanna to be totally lame and I actually liked her. So there you go. An entertaining, albeit silly watch.

Footnote 4/5: This movie is about the relationship between a very stubborn father and his son. They are both scholars in the same field and competing with one another. It leaves you wondering what you would do? It was well done.

Black Lightning 4/5: This is a Russian superhero film. Funny and fun. We really liked the main character. Netflix streaming.

The King's Speech 4/5: We Clearplayed this and fast forwarded the F-word scene. It was an interesting movie. It is more slow-paced and thoughtful but worth a watch, especially since it's based on a true story. The special features had a recording of the real king talking, and Colin Firth did an excellent job of imitating his speech.

The Big Year 4/5: I was ready for this movie to be hilarious. It wasn't. In fact, I wouldn't even call it a comedy. You'd think that Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black all together in a movie about watching birds would have you rolling on the floor, but it was more of a thinking movie with things to say about life and priorities. I enjoyed it though and loved that it was only PG. Support these movies!

Man On A Ledge 4/5: This one was also entertaining. I remember being annoyed with two of the supporting characters who were talking about their premarital relationship, but as a whole it was good. It kept you on the edge...

Les Mis 4.5/5: I wouldn't say it was better than the 1998 version, but overall it was very well done.

There were a couple of scenes in the movie that, had I known they were there, would have kept me from going to see it. I know Victor Hugo infused his story with some very adult themes, but there are ways of telling a story without showing everything. When did it become okay for a 13 year old to see that?

That said, the constant closeups of not-so-perfect faces were refreshing. How many huge, epic movies like this don't give a hooey about making the actors look their best?  How often does Hollywood show us real people with real complexions? Real faces? Snot? I was able to stop worrying about if the actors were well-trained singers, or beautiful, or even good actors. I didn't care. I just got enveloped by the story and the experience. The actors were vehicles for Victor Hugo's voice and the moving musical score and the reality and poignance of the human experience.

I really did feel that way, but of course I still have lots to say about the individual actors and their contributions. Russell Crowe didn't quite convince me. I know it's sad, but at the end, right before he makes his final choice, all I could think about was Geoffrey Rush. It might have been his vocals, or (as Josh suggested) the fact that Crowe's one, grim facial expression didn't show us enough of his inner conflict. Still, I didn't mind him too much.

As you know, in general I am quite turned off by Anne Hathaway, but in this movie I think she did a really good job. And her vocals were beautiful. I may or may not have cried during her screentime. Sure, she was given a sob story, but she made it her own.

As I mentioned earlier, Eddie Redmayne was in The Yellow Handkerchief. In that movie, he was a weird, antisocial, special needs kinda kid and so I was amazed when I saw his stunning performance as Marius. Wow, he was good. What a talented actor to play two such different roles. He has so many facial expressions, so much depth. He was probably my favorite.

Cosette... well, if they could have brought the musical score down by two steps, I think she would have sounded less like a chipmunk. I think her voice (tremolo and all) is nice enough, but they didn't do her any favors by putting her up in the stratosphere. She was just fine overall, though.

Hugh Jackman did a very good job, little Cosette was just right. Eponine was wonderful. Her scene all wet with rain was moving and real and unglamorous, which just added to her strength. The Thenardiers were just right, even with how many movies I've seen Helena Bonham Carter in lately.

Life of Pi 5/5: Beautiful, bright, brilliant images. Stunning performance by the main actor, Suraj Sharma. And the tiger, of course. I can't tell you how it ends, but it definitely makes you think. Poignant and pretty. And anything that is high quality and only PG gets my vote. If we support these films, they can make more of them! If you watch it, I'd love to hear what you think the movie was trying to say.

The Hobbit 5/5: In my experience, most movies based on books feel rushed. Harry Potter fans, for example, will throw a fit if you don't squeeze in every last character and detail and plot point from the book, so they stuff the movies so full that you don't quite have time to settle in and get the feel that the book gives you.

The Hobbit's pacing felt quite different to me, and of course that is due to the fact that they have three whole movies to develop the story and the characters and the mood. Josh and I came up with the word "indulgent" to describe the length and breadth of some of the scenes in the movie. The part where the unexpected dinner visitors show up at Bilbo's house? No way they would have dedicated so much time to that scene if there had only been one movie. We definitely benefited from the leisurely pace at which the story was told. Although, honestly, I was relieved when the Gollum scene was finally over. Blech.

Bilbo was perfect, as he has been in any movie I've seen him in. And did you know that the Thorin dwarf guy is the guy from North and South? For some reason I find that hilarious.

Hunger Games 5/5: Very well done. The movie was true to the book. The shaky camera technique made sure it was never easy on the eyes to watch kids killing each other. Katniss and Peeta were perfect. Hair isn't everything.

Warrior 5/5: One of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I was reluctant to see it because it looks like just another one of those fighting movies. But it's not about that, not really. It's about family relationships and pain that lasts a lifetime and forgiveness. It doesn't end with your typical "fighting movie" ending. It is very emotionally taxing and kind of beats you up, but it's worth it. (There is some bad language in it, sorry.)

Agree with me? Disagree? Think I'm too harsh? Fall asleep before you made it to the end of this post?