Conquering Recovery and Netflix: Week Two


A photo posted by Rachael Faught (@moonstruckq) on




Last Friday I had my follow-up with my surgeon, who gave me clearance to ditch the binder I’d been issued and slowly go about my business. Emphasis is, of course, on slowly. I got a little too confident maneuvering in the kitchen and between reaching a bit further than I ought to have and the fact that I can’t wear a bra, I pulled my muscle a bit. It doesn’t help that I am still swollen and bruised – so my skin is extra sensitive. My nurse checked on me yesterday and didn’t think I did any major damage – just a bit of strain. So I took it easy today and have been focusing on a huge Mix CD project for my friend Liz. Oh, Liz. You have no idea what you got yourself into.

My mom speculates that my nerves are zinging with heightened sensitivity, and I think she may be correct. I have a particular sensitivity to my stomach regardless of major surgery, but add that on top of everything and I am a squirming mess. I just need to find a project that will keep me amply distracted and safe and not bored out of my mind. I would love to say that this is the perfect time to tackle the pile of books I have to read, but alas, most of my books are in stacks because we did not finish erecting my renovated bookshelf in time before my surgery! Yup. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Ah, well. Time to review the titles I got through in my Netflix queue this week!




Happy
Synopsis: Happy takes viewers on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy.
Opinion: I’m pretty indifferent to this documentary; it was edifying in a generic, scratch-the-surface kind of way to open up the discussion of the scientific study of how people generate happiness. I wasn’t surprised by some of their findings, but still came away feeling more informed than I had been before I began
Rated: Three stars


Spinning Plates
Synopsis: This gastronomic documentary profiles three distinctive restaurants based in very different locales: Chicago; Tucson, Arizona; and Balltown, Iowa.
Opinion: We all know I’m a sucker for a solid food documentary, and Spinning Plates is no different. This film made me hungry and pulled on my heart-strings while filling my head with knowledge. I appreciated that the filmmakers decided to profile 3 types of restaurants – not just A list Alinea or only hometown legend Brietbach’s Country Dining. I’ll not say much more other than if you’re a fan of food documentaries that profile both the establishment and the humans behind them, watch this.
Rated: Four stars


In Your Eyes
Synopsis: Two strangers on opposite ends of the country have a telepathic bond that lets each one see what the other sees, a deep connection that leads to love.
Opinion: I confess, this was not actually in my queue. Mister J put it on and I found myself sucked in despite myself. I was particularly drawn to the very accessible character of Rebecca, portrayed by a new favorite Zoe Kazan. The juxtapose of settings reminded me a lot of The Good Son, but otherwise the similarities stop there. I think overall it is a quirky cute movie and I actually gave a damn what happened to our two main characters. Give it a watch.
Rated: Four stars



With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story
Synopsis: Explore the life of comic book legend and pop culture icon Stan Lee from his Depression-era upbringing through the Marvel age of comics.
Opinion: Geek girl that I am, I honestly did not know too much about Stan Lee before watching this, aside from the friction with Jack Kirby and the longevity of which he has endured at Marvel. I think the biggest surprise of all is the 60+ year marriage to his wife Jane and how, uhm, bombastic? passionate? their relationship can be. I, for one, do not get my jollies by arguing – especially with a significant other – but apparently the Lee’s do! Hah! The evolution of Marvel is the stuff of legends and I’m pleased this documentary was 85% Stan and only about 15% other people talking about Stan and Marvel.
Rated: Four stars


Dear Mr. Watterson
Synopsis: Nearly two decades after the last original “Calvin and Hobbes” was published, this documentary examines the comic strip’s enduring legacy.
Opinion: Unlike the Stan Lee documentary, this is one which features everyone but the aforementioned Watterson, a known recluse who famously opted out of merchandising his iconic comic characters. Whether you agree with his decision or not, this documentary focuses on how Calvin and Hobbes not only influenced a wide variety of people – from the average student to Watterson’s peers – but the comics industry as a whole. I really enjoyed it, and my inner 8 year old was particularly happy.
Rated: Four star



Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
Synopsis: An eccentric efficiency expert and his good-tempered wife raise 12 lively children, although their quirky methods often lead to raucous misadventures.
Opinion: I’ve never seen the remake, and only became intrigued by the original film when it popped up as a suggestion by Netflix. My mom prompted me to watch it with her one evening and upon seeing that Myrna Loy portrayed the matriarch of the Gilbreth family, I became enthused to watch it. As I get older, I find myself a touch more critical of older films due to their less-than-savory take on women and social issues. Cheaper by the Dozen had such a moment with a Planned Parenthood representative that made me roll my eyes. Regardless, the core story of actual scientist Frank Gilbreth and his industrial engineering psychologist wife Lilian is endearing as lovingly narrated by their daughter based on the book of the same name, penned by two actual Gilbreth children.
Rated: Three stars


What have you been watching as of late?

Conquering Recovery and Netflix: Week One


A photo posted by Rachael Faught (@moonstruckq) on




No, I haven’t forgot you, dear blog. I’ve just been busy, and then of course, major surgery. Seems to be a running theme in my life these last few years, to have a surgery between the fall/winter. Well, my latest surgery happened last week and now is the time to trudge down the long and hard road to recovery. I’ll be at home, or relatively sequestered away, for a solid 8 weeks. I’m not permitted to lift or strain myself in any way – so it’s just a lot of loafing around. On the surface seems like an amazing thing for a lot of people, but speaking as someone who has undergone many surgeries and lived a mostly shut-in life these last few years, this is torture.

So it’s time to set some goals for myself – however frivolous they may seem in the grand scheme of life. Case in point: My Netflix Queue. I currently hold 127 titles in my instant watch. Of said 127, roughly 29 are titles I have viewed previously and therefore do not count. The remaining figure is 98. It is currently my goal to complete half of this number (and since it’s odd, we’ll just round up) within 8 weeks. Get through 47 titles of my Netflix Queue. This includes:
movies
documentaries
comedy specials
TV shows (I’ve either yet to start or never completed)

49 does not divide evenly, so let’s round up again to 50, which will give me 6ish titles per week in 8 weeks to accomplish. This probably does not sound like a lot to many of you, but for me, it is. I’m also tackling some writing and holiday card projects on top of everything, so that will keep me busy, too.

Every Friday, I will round up the titles I’ve watched and check them off publicly with you with a brief synopsis and if I enjoyed them. As of today, week one of at-home recovery has been completed and here are the titles I conquered from my queue:

Carol Channing: Larger than Life
Synopsis: The astonishing life of Carol Channing unfolds in this entertaining biopic, which captures the bold Broadway legend’s outsize personality.

Opinion: I cannot even begin to describe the adorableness of this documentary, nor will I even begin to explain why it made me cry like a little bitch. Just watch it. Even if you hardly know who Carol Channing is, just watch it. Rated: five stars

Miss Annie Rooney
Synopsis: A poor inventors daughter (Shirley Temple) falls head over heels for the son of a millionaire rubber magnate. But joining his daunting social circle proves to be difficult.

Opinion: I used to be such a Shirley Temple fan, but I truthfully had never watched any of her teenager movies until now. As this film is the only one available on Netflix, I gave it a go. I don’t think the latter half of the description is accurate; this is more of a case of a girl whose self-serving father keeps screwing up her chances. I wasn’t a big fan, to be honest. Rated: two and a half stars.

The Restaurateur
Synopsis: In this foodie documentary, director Roger M. Sherman shadows restaurateur Danny Meyer in an attempt to find out what fuels his business cravings.

Opinion: I think the Netflix synopsis is somewhat misleading, or vague anyway. This documentary does shadow Danny Meyer, but its main focus is the two restaurants Danny is bringing to life in Manhattan. What goes on behind the scenes of these two very different restaurants from conceptualization to debut and a little beyond is really the plot. Rated: Four stars

Inside: LEGO
Synopsis: The famous colorful building bricks company nearly becane a pile of plastic rubble. Here’s how they re-built the dream.

Opinion: What an interesting story. I honestly had no idea that LEGO was ever in trouble, so this was insightful. I have a friend of the family that works for LEGO in Denmark, so this gave me a glimpse into his job. My only complaint is that it was far too short! Rated: five stars

Advanced Style
Synopsis: This documentary profiles seven stylish New York City seniors who disprove the notion that advanced years and glamour are mutually exclusive. Brought to us the blog of the same name.

Opinion: What a fabulous documentary! I am tickled every time I see a fabulously unique and stylish elderly woman walking around town, and I look up to these women to continue be as fabulous as I can no matter what age I am! Rated: five stars

Sushi: The Global Catch
Synopsis: This documentary traces the history of sushi from its origins as Japanese street food to its current status as an internationally popular cuisine.

Opinion: Once again, a misleading Netflix description. This documentary does touch on the history of sushi, but its main focus is the sustainability of bluefin tuna and the consequences of supply and demand in the sushi world. I think every sushi enthusiast should watch it and become more aware of the problem at hand. This is definitely an issue consumers are going to have the most impact with. Rated: five stars

I hope you will join me every Friday as I cross off another week of recovery and another week of reaching my Netflix goal.

The Big ReBranding


Blank Greeting Cards

A lot has been going on over here at Glass of Win – or rather, behind the scenes since new material hasn’t shown up on here for nearly two weeks. Many people have already noticed on my social media outlets, and I’ve only loosely spoken to a few people about it in private, but right here, right now I am confirming that yes – I am rebranding Glass of Win.

I started slowly, to first see if I liked the name and if I could get balance my two worlds – or, more importantly, if I want to keep these two worlds separate. Within two weeks I found my answers:

1. Yes, I like the name I have chosen: Moonstruck Quaint (shortened from Quaintrelle, which was a mouthful)

2. Not…really.

When I launched Glass of Win in 2009, the blog was a catch-all for all facets of my interests. About a year later, I shaved down the blog to focus solely on food, events and travel. I struggled greatly to maintain my unique voice and lost it along the way. Over the last year I have desperately tried to gain it back and really show off my personality, but I realized there are so many facets of my personality that I have denied on Glass of Win and that was why I’d lost my voice in the first place. I want to incorporate these topics back into my blogging and build upon my already existing audience.

What does this mean for my media contacts? Nothing! Contact me. I may not take on as many food related blogging as I did before, but the quality will be amplified.

What does this mean for my readers? Only that you will be getting to know me on a deeper level as I let all my geeky glory hang out.

What does this mean for all of the food/travel content? It’s staying and will continue to be a dominant feature on Moonstruck Quaint ~ I’m just adding more categories to enjoy!

Why don’t you just add those categories to Glass of Win? This is where I kept circling back in indecisiveness, but it has become evident that I have become quite disenchanted with what Glass of Win is and I feel “stuck” here, so to speak. A new name means a new opportunity to not only build on what I have established here, but to usher in newcomers who will view my blog and YouTube Channel with fresh eyes. I need to continue my journey under a new name; a name that resonates where I am in my life currently and how I want to identify myself as a blogger and individual. The name “Glass of Win” reflected where I was in 2009; now, five years later, Moonstruck Quaint is where I am.

When will the URL change? This is still a mystery to me, especially considering all of the content I have here. I’m doing research still about moving said content as seamlessly as possible, but my best guess is sometime close to the New Year. I have a surgery on December 2nd and pending the outcome and recovery process will determine the URL switch.

In the meantime, I’ll be a lot more active building Moonstruck Quaint content up on social media, especially YouTube – but updates here on Glass of Win will still roll in.

Thank you everyone for being part of Glass of Win! I hope you enjoy Moonstruck Quaint just as much – or more!

Binge Watching to Wellness

Out sick today...
credit: Diane Main

This summer cold had best kick itself by Thursday, because not only do I have an appointment with another surgeon at 10am, but it’s my first official evening at Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival! Last year, I ate, drank and was thoroughly merry throughout my 2-day adventure, but this time, I’m going bigger and longer: Four days, four events, all of them huge. I’ll be tag-teaming with Tanaya again and hopefully some other food bloggers will be found in the melee. It’s a huge event I’ve been looking forward to all year, and no cold is going to stop me!

In the meantime, however, I’ve had the task of keeping myself occupied while trying to recover. I can only focus on work so much, needing longer periods of time to just zone out or rest. Here is what I’ve been doing to keep myself occupied while still getting rest:

  • Made chicken stock. OK, a bit labor intensive BUT I had all of my vegetable scrapes separated and in a reused container, ready to go and get roasted along with the chicken carcass in my fridge. The filtering process at the end was a bit of a chore, but I used a second wind to get it done. Now I have lovely, flavorful homemade chicken stock in case I need some homemade chicken noodle soup.
  • Re-watching The 10th Kingdom. In one day. Whew. My love for Scott Cohen, Dianne Wiest and fairy tales kept me powering through that one.

  • Going through photos that need to be edited, chucking out the crap photos. I don’t feel right enough in the head to actual edit, seeing as I do not have all of my wits about me. But this is a good head start.
  • Goofing around with my Attack on Titan Nendoroid figures:
  • Organizing the living room. Mom has been painting and move furniture in preparation for our forthcoming sofa (insert squeal of excitement here), but I have been picking up the smaller stuff and putting it back into order, like shelving books properly.
  • Eating a mega-fuck ton of spicy food via Yunnan Garden, as recommended by Minty.


  • Playing a lot of Dragon Coins. Like, an embarrassing amount.
  • Creating immune-boosting green drinks. If you have a recipe of your own, please leave me the ingredients in the comments!
  • Reading. I’d wanted to whiz through A Song of Ice and Fire this summer, but I’ve been slowly trudging the third book, as it’s packed with all sorts of high’s and lows I will need ample time to savor/recover from. I have also been re-reading The Nightrunner Series, by Lynn Flewelling; she concluded the series this year (thankfully I have not read the last two, so there are still some surprises awaiting me!).
  • and of course, what sure-fire way to a full recovery would be complete without:

  • BINGE WATCHING TO WELLNESS! Time to plow through titles in my Netflix queue and on my DVD shelf. On the agenda today & tomorrow:
  • – Clueless
    – Sushi: The Global Catch
    – Pollyanna, my go-to “I am sick, help me, mummy!” movie I always watch when I’m under the weather.

    Adventures of Baron Munchausen ~ My brother always played Terry Gilliam movies when I was not feeling well, and between this one and Time Bandits, I think a nice nod to Robin Williams is in order.



    – Somm
    – Lewis Black: Old Yeller
    – Center Stage ~ Ugh. It’s horrible, but I love it.
    The Babysitters Club TV series ~ I am morbidly curious if it holds up.


    OK, the jury is out on this one.

    – I am Divine
    – Malcolm in the Middle
    – Manor House / 1900 House / Regency House (PBS series)


    I think this is a great start!

    What do you watch when you’re sick? Do you have any recommendations for me?



    featured image credit Anna Gutermuth

    Steffie at the Hitchin’ Post

    IMG_1737
    credit: Brian Jeffery Beggerly


    I’ve been quiet around here for a few reasons, chiefly that my best girl from high school, Miss Steffie Love, is getting herself hitched this Tuesday evening. I’m over the moon happy for her and her intended, and have been busy scrambling to prepare myself for what will be my third wedding of this year, and fifth go as a member of the wedding party. Please hang tight, dear readers ~ and send my girl Steffie all of your best wedlock wishes!


    Recipe: Tonnarelli with Chef Vic Casanova

    Tonnarelli by Vic Casanova

    Tonnarelli with Chef Vic Casanova


    WHEW! This week has been busy, and next week will be even busier. I still have Tacolandia to report on, and a lot of mouth-watering features on the horizon, so keep a lookout! So, in a previous life (career) I was a nanny, and much like the might garden weed, children grow up, as mine have. Today, the youngest of a family I nannied for turned 16. I’m ecstatic to still be part of their lives, even if they are (nearly) grown-up and able to take care of themselves. Now, I’m off to again to assist bride Steffie with some last-minute DIY assemblage for her gift bags, then back home to prepare for my own birthday festivities. July has always been my busiest month of the year!


    Chef Vic Casanova

    Let’s give a warm welcome to guest Vic Casanova, Executive Chef and Owner of West Hollywood’s Italian eatery, Gusto, has always been committed to using the best of ingredients and hand-making each of Gusto’s six pastas for eight hours every day. As a chef and businessman, being a father always takes precedent in his life, and in the midst of preparing to open his second restaurant this summer and experiencing the warm months with his 3-year-old daughter and newborn son, Chef Casanova loves being able to cook and spend time with his family simultaneously. As a perfect summer dish, and his daughter’s favorite meal, Chef Casanova would love to share his recipe for Gusto’s infamous Tonnarelli, complete with parmigiano reggiano and the summer months’ freshest tomatoes and basil.


    Tonnarelli
    with Tomatoes, Basil, & Parmigiano Reggiano

    Courtesy of owner/executive chef Vic Casanova

    Ingredients:

    San Marzano Tomato Sauce

    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large onion, finely minced
    6 garlic cloves, finely minced
    1 t crushed red pepper flakes
    2 t chopped fresh oregano
    ½ medium carrot, finely minced
    2 28-ounce cans peeled san marzano whole tomatoes, passed thru a food mill
    20 basil leaves, hand torn
    ¾ c parmigiano reggiano, grated
    ¼ c extra virgin olive oil, high quality finishing oil
    Kosher salt to taste

    Fresh Tonnarelli

    2 cups caputo “00” pasta flour, plus more as needed
    4 large eggs
    ⅓ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water

    Instructions:

    San Marzano Tomato Sauce

    1.In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and cook until translucent.

    2. Add the oregano and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often.

    3. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt.

    Fresh Tonnarelli

    1. Measure 2 full cups of unsifted flour and add it all in the bowl of a food processor; process for a few seconds to aerate.

    2. Mix the eggs with the salt in a separate bowl.

    3. With the food processor running, quickly pour in all the eggs through the feed tube. Process continuously, as a dough forms and gathers on the blade and cleans the side of the bowl. If the dough does not come together or clean the bowl after 30 seconds or so, stop the machine, scrape down the sides, and sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons more flour.

    4. Process for a few more seconds – and add more flour if necessary – until a fairly firm ball of dough forms.

    5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand for a minute or more, until it is smooth and firm. If it’s at all sticky, incorporate more flour as you knead. Press the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for at least 1/2 hour. Cut the dough in four equal pieces.

    6. Roll each piece through a pasta machine at progressively narrower settings, to form long wide strips, about 1/8 inch thick (no thinner) and as wide as your machine allows. If the strip grows longer than the strings of your tonnarelli, cut it crosswise into two shorter strips.

    7. To cut the tonnarelli, lay a strip of dough over the strings of a chitarra. Using gentle but constant pressure, roll your pin lengthwise up and down the pasta, so the strings cut it cleanly into strands of tonnarelli that fall onto the tray of the chitarra. Dust the freshly cut strands with flour, and gather them into a loose nest on a floured tray. Cut all the strips into tonnarelli, and collect them in floured nests.

    8. Leave the tray uncovered at room temperature until you are ready to cook the pasta. To cook, bring to boiling a large pot of well-salted water (at least 6 quarts with a tablespoon or more of salt). Using your hand or a colander, shake excess flour off the nests of tonnarelli and drop them into the pot. Stir and separate the strands as the water returns to a rolling boil, then cook the pasta for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just before al dente.

    Tonnarelli

    Finishing Touches:

    1. Add cooked pasta & ½ c water from the pot that cooked the pasta to the 3 qt. pot with cooked tomato sauce.

    2. With the heat on medium, keep moving the pasta in the pot to ensure it absorbs the sauce. When sauce is clinging to the pasta turn off the heat.

    3. Add basil, parmigiano reggiano and mix well while slowly adding extra virgin olive oil. Then season to taste.


    Buon appetito!

    High-Five Friday



    1. Anime Expo

    I’ve not glanced at the largest anime convention in North America since 2008, when I attended for one day to co-host the Jrock Events in honor of one of my favorite musicians. Over the last 10 months, though, my momentum and interest in what was once an annual tradition for me kept gaining speed until finally I solidified plans to attend on Saturday. That doesn’t mean I haven’t already been down there – twice – to accompany friends and pick up a badge for a friend meeting me tomorrow. Anime Expo has always been large, but this year is reminiscent of Comic-Con 2006, the last SDCC I attended due to overbearing crowds and little to no progress in getting to the events I wanted to get to. I have to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow just to give myself ample time for the line of the Sailor Moon panel. Not something I am looking forward to, but a small price to pay to capture a bit of nostalgia.

    2. SAILOR MOON!

    Tomorrow is the world debut of Sailormoon Crystal, the official re-boot anime of the classic magical girl anime. While Sailormoon was not my first anime by any means, it was the anime that made me propel myself head-first into the world of Japanese pop culture. Words can’t even begin to capture what Sailor Moon means to me and how infinite my love for her world is and will always be.


    3. Central Air Conditioning

    Enough said.



    4. Trying new things

    Ever since starting Glass of Win and getting into my kitchen to really learn how to cook, I’ve broadened my palate by leaps and bounds. Still, there are certain foods I’ve yet to try, either out of wariness or lack of opportunity. Last week I had the opportunity to try chicken feet – something I never had the desire to try. I’ll be honest, I disliked it, but better I try and know then wonder if I am missing out on something.


    5. Mushy, junky TV

    As much as I love to tackle big reading during the summer, I also like to let my brain rest and turn a bit to mush with the worst kind of television imaginable. I only binge a couple of times a year on crap like this (honestly, shows I am too shamed to even name here!), and am only sorry I am not sorry about it!