1. Yesterday was Mama and Papa Bender’s 32nd wedding anniversary! It’s always fun to look back at old pictures of them. They are a truly wonderful example of what it means to love fully, embrace the importance of family and – perhaps most important of all – don’t take life too seriously.
2. I had the chance to see The Great Gatsby last weekend and it was everything I had hoped for and more after gushing over the trailers for months. It seems as though the reactions to the movie – and the soundtrack in particular – are mixed. People either love it or hate it with not much room in between. I’m in the “love” camp but that may stem from the fact that I really like all the artists on the soundtrack. I admit that there were moments where it was a bit bizarre to combine the modern music styles with the 1920s era, but overall I was a fan.
I also thought the actors and actresses were outstanding. I’m not always the biggest fan of Tobey Maguire but I thought he rocked it as Nick, and Leonardo DiCaprio is just Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s been my favorite since Titanic. Have you seen Gatsby yet?
3. Right before we went to see Gatsby, a group of us grabbed dinner at Grimaldi’s – appropriate since they are famous for their New York-style pizza. It was everybody’s first time there and we were all super impressed! You start with a base pizza that is either cheese and sauce, cheese and garlic or cheese and pesto, then add whatever toppings you like to it. Bobby and I went with the cheese and sauce pizza topped with tomatoes, mushrooms and sausage.
The result was fantastic, especially when served with the “house wine.” You can probably imagine how excited I was to find out that “house wine” does exist outside of Europe – and it was just as cheap and fantastic as it is there!
4. This workweek was made a bit more exciting when Jill came to town for a couple of days! We visited 32 Shea for a day just like last time and their Vienna coffee syrup still knocked my socks off. I really want to recreate this coffee at home.
5. Last night I went with a group of lovely ladies to Cowboy Ciao for Arizona Restaurant Week. In fact, it was many of the same ladies from our ARW trip to Cheuvront back in the fall. We had a great time chatting and the food was truly awesome.
I started out with the “Nuts About Scallops,” which was sea scallops crusted in corn nuts and seared with heirloom tomatoes and risotto. It comes with a Ciao “trail mix” made with Asiago, pepitas and dried black currants, as well as a pesto buttermilk dressing. YUM! For my entrée I chose the “Pig ‘n Puddin,'” which was pulled barbecue pork over creamy soft polenta with pepitas and dried cranberries. And for dessert I had a banana, peanut butter and chocolate upside-down cake.
Words truly can’t describe how delicious it all was and I left knowing I’d be back sooner rather than later! We snapped a quick group shot, too. From left to right (including front and back rows): Sheena, Megan, Ari, Nicole, Kristi, Emily, Robin and me.
6. One cause I’m definitely getting behind this week is in support of my friend Karla and her upcoming Million Dollar Marathon! To celebrate her 26th birthday, Karla is taking on 26.2 miles in a cross-country relay. If you’re interested in donating to her cause, you can do so directly or through buying one of her awesome new t-shirts. The money raised will be split between Above & Beyond Cancer, Livestrong and American Cancer Society. Check out more in her blog post.
7. Last but not least, I’m getting my decor ready for Memorial Day. Bobby’s parents will be coming into town for the long weekend. I think we may check out bull riding at the Buffalo Chip, go on a hike and see the Benders, among other things.
Hope everyone has a great long weekend! What are your Memorial Day Plans?