Posted by Mihal Levy
The Twilight saga has gained a huge following among tweens, teens and even moms. But after drudging through the first book, half of the second book, and a press screening of Twilight (for a review, not pleasure), I can now officially proclaim that I am NOT a Twilight mom (ducking to avoid stones being thrown at me). Apparently, I am one of the few.
Recently (Nov. 15), an article was written in New York Magazine: “‘Twilight,’ Take Me Away!” (By Em & Lo). It discusses the obsession of countless moms that have become fans of the saga and mentions a fansite devoted to these moms - www.twilightmoms.com - with 34,000 registered members, or approximately the population of a small country or West Hollywood. These moms must have a lot of spare time on their hands. And if so, please tell me what your secret is.
The article states that TwilightMoms.com members have even suggested that the books “have strengthened their marriages.” And further explained that “more than a handful of those confided that Twilight had improved their sex lives.” Maybe it is just me, but I am not sure how the passion between a vampire and a human can improve one’s sex life. Role playing? Perhaps if they had healthy sex lives to begin with, they wouldn’t need to become obsessed with teen stars half their age.
This all struck me as quite interesting when I watched The Jay Leno Show a few nights ago with guest Taylor Lautner (who plays werewolf Jacob Black). Lautner spoke of one of his most shocking encounters with a fan, who happened to be a mom (of course). He explained that the mom was there with her daughter waiting for his autograph. She grabbed him by the wrist and said, “I’m wearing the Team Taylor panties right now. Is there anyway I can take them off for you and have you sign them quick?” Mind you, Lautner is only seventeen years old. Probably the age of her own daughter, I’m guessing. Thanks, Mom, for giving the rest of us moms a bad rap.
What is it about these moms that draw them to this film? Apparently, sexless marriages and perhaps experiences they themselves didn’t have when they were teens. Twilight Moms, did you miss the whole Corey Haim/Corey Feldman era? I get the basic themes: “Love is blind,” “You want what you can’t have,” “Vampires make great boyfriends” (I don’t get the latter, but thought I would throw it in anyway.) Who wouldn’t want to be Bella Swan, a human that falls in love with a vampire? Me, for one.
So, Twilight Moms, please do us non-Twilight moms a favor: chill out in public and stop swooning over adolescent stars. It gives us non-T moms a bad rap.
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November 17, 2009 | 3:30 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
Isa Chandra Moskowitz makes brunch a fun and delicious part of the day, even for vegans, in her new book Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up For-from Asparagus Omelets to Pumpkin Pancakes.
Now you don’t have to have chicken embryos for breakfast, or any time of day for that matter. (Can you tell I’m not a fan of eggs?)
Moskowitz is the creator of her own vegan show titled “Post Punk Kitchen” (www.theppk.com) and is a bestselling cookbook author. She has become one of the most popular vegan chefs. Her recipes are simple and easy to prepare, without fancy, what-the-heck-is-she-talking-about vegan ingredients that are usually found in specialty stores a city or two away.
In Vegan Brunch, Moskowitz covers scrambles (tofu), suasages, different breads and scones, pancakes, waffles, endless toppings, sides and even drink mixes.
I am working my way through the book, but have tried three recipes thus far: Pumpkin Pancakes, Perfect Pancakes and Tomato Rosemary Scones. They were all simple to whip up with household ingredients that I usually have on hand anyway, and were a big hit with my family.
The votes were in - they loved the Perfect Pancakes, even though they liked the Pumpkin Pancakes (my favorite, great for this time of year). The scones were great as well, or as my son said, “yummy tomato cake.”
Her recipes are delicious and simple. Even if you are not a vegan but need to whip up pancakes without eggs on hand, you’ll love her “Perfect Pancakes” and most likely already have the ingredients you need.
Pancakes are popular in my home (see one of my earlier posts: “Blast Your Breakfast”). I have always avoided pancakes from scratch…until now. The recipe is simple and does not come out runny like regular pancakes, but airy. They end up light and fluffy and easier to flip than non-vegan runny recipes.
If you want great recipes that look fancy, but are simple and go with everything (both meat and dairy meals), then pick up a copy of Vegan Brunch. You’ll find yourself brunching any time of day. (Or maybe that’s just me?) The directions and ingredient lists are simple, with great photos to go along with the recipes. I cannot wait to figure out what to make next.
Perfect Pancakes (taken from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
11/4 cups all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon (optional)
2 T canola oil.
1/3 cup water
1 to 1 1/4 cups rice/soy milk
2 T pure maple syrup
1 t. pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add oil, water, milk, maple syrup and vanilla.
Mix until the ingredients are combined. A few lumps in the batter are fine.
Spray pan with cooking spray or a light coat of oil.
Pour pancakes one at a time and fry until bubbles form and the top looks somewhat dry (about 3 minutes). Flip over (about 1 minute).
Enjoy the Perfect Pancakes. They really are.
Happy Vegan Brunching!
November 16, 2009 | 3:30 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
My son and I headed to the parking lot after hours and hours at the mall. I finally had to make an excuse to get away.
“Mommy ran out of money” was the perfect excuse, and true. We dropped about fifty dollars with nothing tangible to show for it except for an ice cream cone, a few pairs of socks and a souvenir bouncy ball (yes, souvenir…for me going to the mall is like traveling to some foreign destination; I rarely go and hate going, so we have to mark this occasion with a souvenir, of course). The balance of the money was left in the form of quarters on a race car arcade game.
You would think that growing up in the San Fernando Valley I would have more tolerance for the mall, but I don’t…go figure. My tolerance finally wore thin, and being that we had done everything there is to do at the mall (besides shop), I called it quits.
My son is way too smart for excuses like “running out of money,” so he suggested we simply go to the bank and get more. (It’s just that simple.) “Unfortunately, the banks are already closed, so without any more money we can’t buy anything else. We have to go back home,” I tried again.
Ok, it worked…for a while. As we got in the car and headed out of the parking lot, he noticed an El Pollo Loco across the street.
“Mommy, let’s go there.” There? El Pollo Loco? He has never been to an El Pollo Loco, by one or even heard of one. Why on Earth would he want to go there?
What could he possibly want with crazy chicken? After all, his mother is a vegetarian.
So, I dared ask, “Why do you want to go there?” He explained that since we ran out of money, we could go there. He said, “See the sign on the window? It says ‘free cake.’ We don’t need any money to get it.”
I didn’t even know where to begin. How do I explain to a three-and-a-half year old that there is no such thing as a free cake?
November 13, 2009 | 3:30 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
It was love at first tweet for Emmy Rossum and Adam Duritz. Well, almost.
On Thursday, Rossum explained on the radio show Valentine in the Morning that she was invited via Twitter to tour with the band Counting Crows this past summer on a dare. “They dared me to come sing with them a song that I’d never sung before …” So she accepted, of course (who would reject a dare?), and joined the band on tour; from then on, it was history.
Rossum recently separated from her husband (music executive Justin Siegel) in August. Now, she is going public with her relationship with Adam Duritz. Duritz seems to wind up with the good looking women of Hollywood, having dated Courtney Cox, Mary-Louise Parker and Jennifer Aniston. From Counting Crows to counting his blessings or his Hollywood women. “I get why chicks dig him,” Emmy told People. Maybe it’s his hair?
Twitter apparently is not just for updates anymore; now dares are included, and maybe even finding one’s beshert. So if you are single, you never know. Maybe you too can be tweeted from a dreadlocked rock star. Phew, I’m safe…I’m married. But then again, so was she.
November 12, 2009 | 3:36 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
What do you get when you take a girl born to an Italian-Catholic mother and one born to Jewish parents? Lea Michele (“Rachel Berry”) and Dianna Agron (“Quinn Fabray”) from Fox’s hit Glee.
Lea Michele (Lea Michele Sarfati)‘s mother is an Italian-Catholic (her father a Sepharadic Jew) and Dianna Agron is Jewish. Dianna Agron portrays a devout Catholic, head of the school’s celibacy club who actually gets pregnant, and Lea Michele portrays what we have stereotypically come to know and love as a Jewish American Princess. Guess you cannot judge a book by its cover after all. Lea Michele even stated in interviews that she was shocked to land a lead role, as she was always told that her look was “too ethnic.”
On Glee they are rivals, but in reality the two are good friends and actually share an apartment together.
Glee has become a popular show lately, even among moms…at least the ones I know. Maybe it’s because the ones I know were in some type of performance group in high school (myself included), and find this a great opportunity to laugh now, looking back in retrospect. Maybe it is because we can all relate to that one singer that stood out from the rest, but only because she deemed herself the best singer, just like Rachel Berry. Or maybe it is the fact that they break out in song and dance…the way life should be.
November 11, 2009 | 2:33 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
While roaming through the bookstore I noticed a common trend: books about people’s lives through their pet’s eyes. Being that I don’t have a pet (allergies…and goldfish are no fun, especially when they become cannibalistic), I decided that when I got home later I would write a story through the “eyes” of my houseplant, my only houseplant.
Before I left home in the morning, I placed my plant outside in the sun to rejuvenate - vitamin D therapy. (No, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I thought this would help revive my poor plant.) Ironically, when I reached my front door, there he was (yes, he), toppled over on the ground about half a foot from his pot, soil strewn all over. Just when I was contemplating what my plant would say about me, there was my answer, loud and clear. Had Mr. Plant committed suicide? Had someone kicked him over and my poor plant could not fend for himself because of me…leaving him all alone on my front porch? Whether suicide or homicide, it was my fault. I felt awful.
While picking up his remains, I scooped him back into the pot and reminisced about old times. Mr. Plant and I go way back, about seven years back, in fact. I am shocked he has lasted this long considering…
He was a housewarming present given to me by my mother when I moved into a new place when I was single. I don’t know what she was thinking, since I was known as the “plant killer” and couldn’t care for a plant if my life depended on it. But, I guess she figured I needed something to keep me company and something to take care of, since pets were out of the question. It was a nice thought at the time, until I kept shifting him around my place trying to figure out why his leaves were always yellow (jaundice?) then brown (ouch). This went on and on until all that was left of Mr. Plant was a stem and some roots, becoming Mr. Stubby.
Mr. Stubby was thrown into a box a couple of years later when my singlehood was over and moved in with my husband and I. My husband was open to everything I moved into his place (now our place), but Mr. Stubby stood out for him. “Isn’t that thing dead?” he asked. I was quick to defend him - my plant, not my husband. “No! Well, I don’t know, but I can’t just throw him away.” (I have a whole other issue with death, but that makes for another blog.) And, so began our threesome: me, my hubby and my dead plant.
I had been so busy with the move, wedding, honeymoon, and redecorating of my husband’s bachelor-pad-turned-couple’s-home that I had not paid attention to Mr. Stubby. (What else was new?) One day I remembered that I should probably water him and noticed he had sprouted long green branches and leaves. (A miracle happened here!) That was about five years ago. (Not the last time I watered him, of course. I’m not that bad.)
From then on it was always a question of reviving the poor thing. And all my classes in CPR did not help. I remember a particular instance when I realized I must say goodbye to him again and placed him outside on top of one of the trash receptacles to throw away later when my father-in-law came to visit.
He walked into my home, dead plant in hand, and said, “You can’t throw this plant away.”
Unlike myself, my father-in-law does have a green thumb - two, in fact, and has grown everything from cacti and flowers to orange groves, I’m sure. And here I was, struggling to take care of one plant. He placed Mr. Plant (aka, once again, Mr. Stubby) on a drip, a slow drip from the faucet, and placed him out in the sun. I was a skeptic, but literally within days, once again, Mr. Plant proved to be immortal.
The years passed and I always shifted him around when he got a bit jaundiced and watered him every so often (sorry, Mr. Plant). My mother even commented recently, “Is that the same plant I gave you years ago? I can’t believe it.” I couldn’t either. Even my son loved watering him. When he was a little guy learning how to walk, he would walk over to the plant and water it, sometimes even with his juicebox, but Mr. Plant didn’t seem to mind. He flourished.
And now, this. I am not sure there is hope this time. I will place him outside again and wait. I want to apologize to you, Mr. Plant, for the tough times I have put you through, but thank you for always coming around. You have seen me when I was single, married and now in motherhood. You have been there for me. I hope I have been there for you. This is not the end, it is the beginning of a new era and I thank you.
November 9, 2009 | 3:00 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
Motherhood is usually portrayed in one of two ways on the big screen (in my opinion): cliched or Hollywood-esque. Mom is either trying to get to a ringing telephone while the baby is crying and a pot of soup is boiling over on the stove, or she looks refreshed, polished and relaxed in three-inch heels while the nannies scurry about after her children. (Yes, I said nannies…plural.) I believe most moms fit somewhere in between the two.
Uma Thurman portrays a frazzled mom in the new film Motherhood, often cliched, but realistic as well. (Are all moms homely looking?) Thurman does such a great job that you often cannot tell that it is her.
In Motherhood, Thurman portrays Eliza Welsh, a mother of two living in a rent controlled walkup in New York. As a novelist turned mom/blog writer, Eliza tries to balance her blog, home, marriage and daunting to-do list, while battling parking issues, traffic jams, deadlines and strangers with messages for her on how mothers should be, in the midst of preparing for her daughters sixth birthday party. The film just spans one day in her life with so many interruptions; sound familiar? Also starring in the film are Anthony Edwards and Minnie Driver.
I would have to disagree with many of the poor reviews Motherhood and Thurman have received. It is a “slice of life” film and a day in the life of a not so well-to-do mom. It may not be cinematically perfect or brilliant, but it does cover the ground of what it often takes to be a mother.
Although Motherhood was out for a limited engagement, I am glad I had the opportunity to see it. Be sure to catch it on DVD (release date still unknown).
I don’t promise amazing cinema, but great one-liners about motherhood and laugh-out-loud moments that us moms can relate to (like crazy moms at the park, among other things).
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly claims that “...Uma Thurman turns every task - shopping for a birthday party, retaining a parking space - into an operatic fit of neurosis.” And your point, Mr. Gleiberman?
November 3, 2009 | 1:08 pm
Posted by Mihal Levy
Although it is probably highly unlikely that Mel Gibson would be reading this, I want to wish him and his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva mazel tov on the birth of their daughter Lucia. (And no, Lucia was not born to a virgin mother; this is #2 for Oksana.)
Gibson has seven children with his estranged wife of thirty years, who filed for divorce in April. This makes number eight for Mel. “Guess that makes me Octo-Mel,” Gibson said jokingly during his appearance on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show in May, confirming reports that he and Oksana were expecting. Octo-Mel is not so bad; there are probably worse things he has been called.
It has been a long time since Gibson has made headlines, which is probably a good thing. And hopefully during his sabbatical, he has had time to reflect. Reflect on the fact that drinking and driving don’t mix…and that when pulled over, you probably should not let antisemitic epithets out of your mouth along with the scent of alcohol if you want to keep working in Hollywood. Maybe there is such a thing as bad publicity after all.
It seems Mel’s iconic Lethal Weapon days are long gone. Maybe it is time for a new start?
So what is in store for baby Lucia? A life of passion for J.C., along with anti-Semitic banter? Even though J.C. was born Jewish?
As a mother, I shudder when I think of all the hate that can persist in the world when it is passed down from parent to child. With all this, I am confident that he has learned from his mistakes. So, I raise a toast to Mel, Oksana and Lucia – L’chaim!