Awesome in January

Awesome in January

January was bitterly cold and dreadfully long. We tried to stay cozy at home, and film awards season brought the perfect excuse to stay on the couch under a blanket. I especially loved season 2 of The Crown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Sinner in terms of television. My favorite movies so far have been Lady Bird and Get Out, but there’s still a lot left to watch. I have to say, I don’t understand the hype around Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I guess I don’t find rape and racism that funny. Have you seen it? What did you think?

I made Cheesy Potato Soup this month, and it was the perfect foil t the January dreariness. We got to try Pizza East which just opened up a few doors down from us. It was tasty, but I think I’ll take it home to eat next time as the seats weren’t particularly comfortable. Geoff also had the best white russian of his life at Lebowski’s West. 

I definitely want to dig into this Cheesy Tuscan Sausage Dip like now. That cheese, though!

I’m a sucker for a pretzel dog, and these Pretzel Challah Bagel Dogs are calling my name. 

I’m totally intrigued by this Oatmeal Cookie Irish Cream Cheesecake Pie. So many good things all in one dessert. Yes, please. 

Peanut Butter Fudge from Awesome on 20

Your favorites this month were peanut butter fudge, buffalo chicken pinwheels, and classic crunchy peanut butter cookies. All is right with the world.

February is bringing the Winter Olympics a bit more daylight, and a big change at work. Let’s make it awesome, friends.

Awesome in August

Awesome in August

Awesome in August

I spent the first three weeks of August in my house. July was so outrageously awesome that I needed a bit of a break from life. My bank account appreciated the break as well. I watched the Olympics non-stop and loved every minute of it. Michael Phelps was awesome, Katie Ledecky blew up the world, Mo Farah might be the nicest man ever born, and Simone Biles is basically a god. I can’t wait for the Winter Games in Korea. I’m thinking figure skating, snowboarding, and non-stop hot chocolate. What were your favorite Olympic moments?

Howlin Wolf3

We also went back to Howlin’ Wolf this month and had more great cocktails and totally awesome food. I think it might be becoming my favorite. I can also recommend the milkshakes at Byron Burgers. 

I’ve been watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix, and I can’t decide if I like it or not. Rebecca is a terrible person, but Greg is exactly my kind of funny. The theatre kid in me can’t look away from a musical. Also, I was an assistant teacher in Santino Fontana’s tap class when I was in high school and he was like eight years old, so I’m pretty sure I’m at least partially responsible for that Fred Astaire number he did in episode 4.

I’ve been dying to eat the internet. Most especially, I’d like to eat Snickerdoodle Muffins, S’mores Ice Cream Cake, and Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Cookies. Clearly I need to start jogging.

Brazilian Sunrise Cocktail from Awesome on 20

Your favorite recipes this month were Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, Chicken Parmesan, and Brazilian Sunrise Cocktails. Clearly I wasn’t the only one wishing I was in Rio.

I’m happy to have escaped the house again. Adventures await. It’s gonna be awesome!

25 Days of Awesome Christmas Movies

25 Days of Awesome Christmas Movies

25 Days of Awesome Christmas Movies

Living in Hawaii, it takes a bit of extra effort to get in to the holiday spirit sometimes. The temperatures only drop by about five degrees and unless you’re at the tip top of a volcano, there’s absolutely no chance of snow. If I want to see a winter storm that might prevent Santa from delivering his presents, I have to turn on the TV. Everyone’s favorite Christmas movies and TV specials are a great way to get in the mood, and much cheaper than that bottle of wine advent calendar you wish you had. Here are 25 awesome Christmas movies to make you feel merry and bright. 

P.S. They’re in alphabetical order because, while I have some opinions on ranking, I can’t decide which one is my favorite. I also made sure some of these appeared on a couple of different lists of Christmas movies before adding them to make sure they’re “legit.”

  1. Batman Returns N
  2. Charlie Brown Christmas
  3. A Christmas Story
  4. A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All
  5. Die Hard
  6. Die Hard 2: Die Harder
  7. Elf
  8. Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas YT, HP
  9. Frosty the Snowman YT
  10. Gremlins
  11. Home Alone
  12. Home Alone 2
  13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated)
  14. It’s a Wonderful Life
  15. The Muppets Christmas Carol N
  16. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  17. Nightmare Before Christmas N
  18. Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (The one with Patricia Barker and designs by Maurice Sendak)
  19. Polar Express
  20. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  21. Santa Claus the Movie
  22. The Santa Clause
  23. Scrooged N
  24. The Snowman YT
  25. White Christmas N

Here’s the code for the easiest ways of viewing. 
HP=Hulu Plus

Of course, you could also just DVR most of these if you have cable and a DVR. I’m probably one of the only weird people that doesn’t have that option.

So, what are your favorite Christmas movies? Leave a comment so I can check them out.

12 Awesome Can't Miss Movies on Netflix

12 Awesome Can’t Miss Movies on Netflix

12 Awesome Can't Miss Movies on Netflix

Just because I don’t have cable doesn’t mean I don’t still watch a ton of TV and movies. Netflix streaming might be one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century. I’ve gotten to watch so many things I probably never would have found by flipping through the channels. Technically, some of these are TV shows, but the title was getting ridiculously long. 

In no particular order, here are 12 movies or TV shows you may not have in your Netflix cue that I think you should definitely add today. These are all things I would watch again in a heartbeat.

  1. An Idiot Abroad— Do you like to laugh until you cry, snort obnoxiously, and otherwise make a fool of yourself while watching TV? An Idiot Abroad is one of the most hilarious travel shows ever created. Featuring the lovable buffoon, Karl Pilkington, egged on by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this show follows Karl’s adventures around the world. He’s a reluctant traveler put into awkward situations. You will not be able to hide your amusement.
  2. Seven Up Series— The Seven Up Series begins in the sixties and follows a group of English children from various backgrounds. The filmmakers have gone back every seven years to interview the same original kids. I’ve watched the first three in this series, and they release 56 up a few years ago. If you have an interest in sociology, I recommend this series of TV documentaries.
  3. The IT Crowd— It took me a little while to open up to this show. I find a lot of BBC comedies have excessive amounts of shouting. Once I let myself be okay with it, I found this nonsense of this show rather endearing. It follows a couple of hapless IT workers as they attempt to solve some of the most ridiculous problems at their company. Stick with it. You’ll love it.
  4. Firefly— I’ve talked a million times about Firefly, but I find there are still too many people who haven’t watched it yet. There are only 13 episodes of this witty sci-fi drama. It’s like a nerdy verbal dessert. Get on board!
  5. Luther— If you don’t have a crush on Idris Elba yet, you really need to get your act together. Luther is a gripping BBC crime series with a deeply complex main character, gritty suspense, and a delicious nemesis turned side kick character. I can’t get enough.
  6. Beginners— This is a quietly heartbreaking film about family, love, and coming out at in your golden years. So much anguish and joy and wonder. Get ready.
  7. In Bruges— This movie is one of the most complex crime dramas I’ve ever seen. It is at once hilarious, whimsical, and heartbreaking. It’s got everything from dwarf druggies to fat American tourists. Also, Colin Farrell. Enough said.
  8. The Virgin Suicides— Directed by Sofia Coppola, watching this film is like being in a dream. The style is ethereal, and the story seems to skirt around the edges of reality. With music by Air, and a signature performance by Kirsten Dunst, this movie will make you feel wonderfully strange. 
  9. Long Way Round— Ewan McGregor and friend Charlie Borman take a trip around the world on motorcycles in this BBC series. It starts off a bit slow with the preparations for the trip, but they have some unforgettable experiences along the way. It’s a unique way to see the world.
  10. Long Way Down— This is the sequel series to Long Way Round. This time the guys travel from Scotland to South Africa on motorcycles. Both series are worth a watch. 
  11. The Intouchables— This French film portrays the relationship with a rich quadriplegic and his inner city, black caretaker. It’s an inspiring relationship for both of the men as they get to see the world from a different perspective. It’s one of those movies that just makes you feel good about life.
  12. Dogtown and Z-Boys— This documentary reveals the birth of skateboarding as we know it and gives an amazing glimpse of California in the 70’s. We have such a unique culture in this country. This film gives and excellent portrayal of something that feels deeply American.

As of the time this post was published, all of these movies and shows are currently streaming on Netflix. I wanted to mention two more things I love that are no longer available on streaming. Surely, you haven’t ditched your DVD player just yet. Make sure to check out Safety Not Guaranteed, starring Aubrey Plaza, and Stargate Universe, which was tragically cancelled by the Syfy Network. Both were extremely wonderful.

That should keep you busy through the holiday breaks and beyond. Try something new, kids. It’s gonna be awesome. 

Awesome in September

Awesome in September

Awesome in September

Holy crap, you guys, September was hard. Like killer, brutal, down for the count, totally freaking out, on the verge of tears hard. Between extra responsibilities at work, a crazy schedule, online blogging workshops, and a heart-wrenching family emergency all wrapped up in this incessant heat and humidity that seems to have no end, I can decidedly say that the most awesome thing about September is that it’s over. And good riddance. Surely we managed to have some fun, though. Let’s take a look.


We did manage to get up to some weekend shenanigans enjoying an impromptu trip to the zoo, drinking Pimm’s by the pool at a fancy hotel we sorta snuck in to, and grabbing breakfast at Duke’s to cap off Geoff’s birthday weekend. I love escaping for a few hours with friends and indulging in some great food and drinks. It’s basically the best thing ever.

We’re deep into Falling Skies now, and that show is plot twist on top of plot twist on top of plot twist. There are only two more discs available, then I have to wait. I hate waiting.

Lulu's Cocktail

I’ve been reading Go by John Clellon Holmes. It’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. But it’s not great either. I keep setting it aside to read other things, which is just making it drag on and on. I’ve found I much prefer Beat poetry to prose. Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti were really the only Beat poets that did anything for me. But I’m neurotic and can’t quit a book, so I guess I’ll make it to the end one of these days. How do you feel about the Beat generation?

The internet has been exploding with Fall foods, and I’m dying to make them, but I’m so hot I want to cry. If you’re in a place with reasonable temperatures and air conditioning, you should definitely be making these Bacon Blue Cheese Burgers with Jalapeno Jam. They’re on The Sugar Hit, but the recipe comes from one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Jessica Merchant, and her new book Seriously Delish, which I’m dying to get my hands on.

Every morning since I read this post, I’ve wished I could wake up and eat these cornbread waffles topped with chili and a fried egg from I am a food blog. Ridiculous.

And if someone doesn’t put this sea salt buttercream chocolate cupcake of heavenly awesomeness from Lady and Pups into my face soon, I may just have to quit life. Come on!

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Oh, and I guess I made a few things this month myself. You especially liked Sweet Potato Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie for a new twist on Meatless Monday.

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Completely Caramel Cupcakes were popular with my husband, with my coworkers and with readers. What’s not to love? It’s once, twice, three times a caramel cupcake. 

Pumpkin Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

And because it’s officially fall, we’re all allowed to worship pumpkin desserts and no one can stop us. You loved this Pumpkin Cake the most, and so do I.

October already has a much better projection. I’m starting to feel like I can handle whatever my job and my life may throw at me, but I’m hoping it doesn’t get tested. Here’s to tough times survived, and challenges yet to come. Mahalo for being so awesome.

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