Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST. A cake and a finale review.

I had been wanting to have a LOST finale watch party for almost as long as I have wanted to see Rose and Bernard for one last time. Last night both those wishes were granted.

Just a few dedicated fans over for dinner and dessert last night - we started at 6pm with general discussions of how we thought it would all end, sharing our hopes that we would be left with a satisfying conclusion, and praying that we wouldn't be left with a disappointing finale ala The Sopranos or Seinfeld.

Had I had more time, I would have converted the house into a Dharma station complete with a pantry stocked with Dharma food, equipped our guests with Dharma jump suits, hidden "the numbers" in anything and everything, and somehow would have gotten a 50 ft three-toed statue placed in our front yard.

Instead, all I had time for was a tribute to the Dharma Initiative and the black-and-white/good-and-evil show theme via a Dharma cake and black and white dessert table.

Dinner was assemble-your-own-burritos, and we did manage to create our own smoke monster while searing the carne asada on the grill pan.

We ate during the two hour pre-show recap, and enjoyed it immensely. No inside answers, no profound moments of truth. But we laughed with Michael Emerson when he talked about Ben being the most beat-up character in television history, and laughed even harder when Ben was once again punched in the face during the finale. The pre-show revealed the joy and admiration the actors had for their characters and for the show, bringing our worlds together as we waited in anticipation for the final chapter.

I couldn't have been more satisfied with the end. Already having guessed weeks ago that the show would end with Jack's eye closing, and having guessed two weeks into the show starting that this was all some kind of purgatory-like limbo - the ending couldn't have been more surprising, and yet satisfyingly simple at the same time. 

For someone who had wasted one too many hours on Lostpedia, called the Oceanic 1-800 number, and spent too long trying to find something more within the Hanso Corporation website - the season finale that really answered none of the questions I had been so obsessed with for so long, was profound enough to make me forget about those other details and appreciate the show for what it really was all about. Much like the realization Jack came to know in the final meeting with his father. None of that mattered, and yet it did.

The finale succinctly tied together the viewpoints of faith vs science, good vs evil; but in a way that was peaceful, satisfying, and I think respectful of all spiritual beliefs. Notice the symbology in the stained glass of the room where Jack met his father? The show quietly respected the idea that life and death is what you make of it, without pushing one religious viewpoint of the afterlife down our throats.

The joyful reunions of the true loves, facilitated by the man with, in my opinion, the greatest love story on the show - Desmond - were immensely happy and appropriate reunions that brought a tear to my eye each time. (As a side note, when Penny and Desmond were reunited back in whatever season that was - I hadn't cried that much at a tv show since Dr. Green's final episode on ER. I LOVE Desmond and Penny!)

What I have loved about the show and what I continue to love about the show is that while I am ultimately satisfied, and happy, with the ending and how I have interpreted that ending, I can still enjoy conversations exploring the different interpretations of the storyline. 

This show, in its final moments of bringing the characters together in one place managed to do the same with the audience. It has brought viewers together as one - just as it did in the very first episode - the episode that captivated audiences across the globe and started a following of this wonderful journey. Those followers were shepherded through a unique television experience that ultimately ended with a calm and tranquil ending that I think audiences will agree, was unexpected and yet expected, but satisfying and enjoyable at the same time.

Back at the finale party, the cake was just as big of a hit as the show. Martha's one bowl chocolate cupcake recipe made into one layer of an eight inch square pan, topped with a layer of Martha's white cake recipe, covered in swiss meringue buttercream and homemade fondant. Extra cake batter was made into mini cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes were topped with white buttercream, and the white cupcakes were topped with black buttercream. Yogurt covered raisins and chocolate covered cranberries in bowls on the dessert table was another tribute to the symbolism in the show. 

As I posted on facebook after last night's finale: 
Thank you, LOST was worth the wait.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stems Vase

For my birthday almost two months ago, Jim gave me a gorgeous gift that I love. This beautiful stems vase from Stems Vases.

I just love it.

We saw them for sale during our trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show several months ago, and they caught my eye. And these vases catching my eye caught Jim's eye, and he tucked that nugget of information away for a later date. So glad he did!

I love the way they really showcase the entire flower in all its glory.

The website has even more shapes and sizes for sale. Perhaps this post will catch Jim's eye again and he'll see how much I like the longer horizontal vase :)

Thank you dear, for another lovely birthday gift!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Zett's Surprise Bridal Shower - Houston style

I just realized that I never did a post about my most recent bridal shower - the surprise extravaganza we pulled off in Houston for Zett.

This is Zett - the BRIDE :)

The rundown: Zett lives in Houston with her fiance and all her friends are scattered across the country. With the wedding in Panama, she assumed that she wouldn't have a shower because of all the traveling everyone is doing to get to Panama. We (her friends) never mentioned a shower one way or another. It just wasn't discussed.

Then the power of email came together and before we knew it we were all booking flights to Houston for a weekend in April! 

The plan was simple - surprise Zett over and over again with more friends, more laughs, and more fun. It was awesome.

The first treat was Lauren (one of the college BFFs) being in town for work. She lives in Berkeley, CA and arrived on Wednesday. The excitement of Lauren being in town was enough to satisfy Zett for a while. She finally had a girlfriend in town to discuss wedding details and shop for accessories. They went to her dress fitting together on Friday afternoon, followed by "dinner" with Bryan.


When Zett walked into the restaurant, there she saw her other college BFFs - Hollie (in from MA), Jenica (in from SoCal), and Paula (in from CO). And her mom (in from NM)! Bryan's parents were also there (local), and Zett couldn't have been happier. They had a great dinner followed by her favorite dessert - Carvel ice cream cake!

Then...SURPRISE! I walked in the door (in from PA). More shock and amazement from Zett - more friends - HOORAY! We finished dessert and hijacked Zett for the evening. Bryan had already prepared an overnight bag for her, and we stayed up into the wee hours of the morning (4 am!) catching up and telling old stories. A good old fashioned sleep-over.

Hollie, Lauren, Jenica, and Paula

The morning was a little hectic and unbelievable, but thankfully Zett is amazingly gullible. We assumed she would sleep in, but nope - she was too excited to sleep and we were all up by 8am. We had to stall until noon! With 4 girls sharing a bathroom it's not too hard to drag it out, so we did. Lauren and Jenica managed to escape under the guise of a strange but believable white lie - the search across town for a broken breast pump part (Jenica is a new mom). That kept them away for 3 hours! Zett totally bought it. I snuck away to pick up the cupcakes while Zett thought I was running to Target to pick up some flip flops that I hadn't packed. Several unnecessary runs to Starbucks later, Hollie and Paula got Zett to her house just after noon where - SURPRISE! - her high school BFFs Sarah and Amy (in from FL) were waiting at the door along with a local friend Matilda and the rest of our gang! At this point we told her the surprises were over (which they were) and we had some yummy food and cupcakes, followed by a traditional bridal shower.

Group hug with Zett, Sarah, and Amy

The theme was Obama - as it was while working on his campaign that Zett and Bryan met. Red, white and blue everywhere, we had a great time at the shower, followed by dinner later, and more girl time at the hotel. We had plans for a night out in Houston - complete with mechanical bulls and cowboy boots, but with some early flights in the morning, Zett preferred that we just all spend more time together at the hotel - and we had another great night of laughs and memories.

Jenica made the Obama banner, coasters, and name tags - great job Jenica!

Cupcakes from Frost Bake Shoppe - read my review HERE - delicious!

Me, Zett, Hollie, Jenica, Matilda, Lauren, Paula, and Zett's Mom Marybeth

Some of the girls in Houston aren't able to make it to Panama, so this weekend was really special to Zett, and us. We love you Zett!

Sarah, Lauren, Hollie, Paula, Jenica, Me, Zett, Amy

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Best Friend's Wedding - crafting like crazy - tissue paper pompoms

With Zett's wedding fast approaching - and the flight to Panama even sooner, I am buckling down in the final days to finish all of the craft projects I have signed on for. 

Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day, but I had to spend most of it inside sewing and playing with tissue paper (two separate projects).

So as I have mentioned before, this wedding is on a pretty tight budget, and we're doing a lot of decorations ourselves. Not that we need that many - getting married with the rainforest as your backdrop is gorgeous enough! But we do need a way to inject the wedding colors into the ceremony and reception.

Enter tissue paper pompoms. They're large, inexpensive to make, simple, and utterly gorgeous - I'm obsessed with them right now. Their shape also resembles the rubber stamps we used for the wedding invitations:

and one of the pieces of fabric we're using for the super-secret-project that will be unveiled at the ceremony:

So I spent the better part of Sunday finishing up all the pompoms we will need for the event. 16 + extras for the ceremony. 80 or so mini ones for the reception, and several more for good measure :) I'll know if and where I can add more when I get there and start to decorate!

For the ceremony, we intend to use them on the chairs lining the aisle - something like this:

Martha Stewart's tutorial is the one I followed when I made my very first pompoms - for Joel's Baby Shower and they turned out gorgeous:
Click HERE for the how-to from Martha.

Photo: Martha Stewart Weddings

Can't wait to show you the final result!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May Flowers from our April Showers

A gorgeous Sunday here today in the northeast. I spent most of the day inside crafting for Zett's wedding but did have all the windows open while Jim worked on the yard. I did manage to get some time outside to smell the roses - literally - they smell gorgeous! Snipped some peonies to enjoy inside also. Wish I had some more time to spend in the garden...that time will come after Panama.

All of the flowers here are from plants inherited with the house. I plan to expand the rose garden at some point, and now that one of the the large trees next door has been cut down, we will get more afternoon sun on one section of our garden. That should benefit the additional peonies I intend to plant next to the one peony plant already there. 

Last year the roses were a bit hit-or-miss. Gorgeous blooms at the beginning of the season, then the bushes looked like they were all going to die. They came back for a late season bloom, but not nearly as impressive. A better winter this year and more aggressive pruning will hopefully yield better results. So far so good...

These roses along the side of the house end up getting really tall no matter how much I prune them back. Reaching for the sun over all the tall trees around our property. They smell amazing though. 

Only had about three peony blooms from this plant last year. This year it is loaded with blooms - so excited! Too gorgeous to leave outside for the squirrels to admire.

Love how the smell fills the house.

Hope you had a great Sunday!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Photos from early spring

A busy Saturday for me, so I just wanted to share some photos I took with my new camera in early spring. They were all taken on our property - the flowers have been such a treat after the long and snowy winter!


And these were taken a few weeks later...