Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Katy Perry's A Part of Me" REALLY Was a Part of Me

Another girl date with my eldest and her choice for the day? Katy Perry: Part of Me; a docubiography chronicling Ms. Perry's rise to super stardom and revealing in detail her worldwide California Dreams Tour of 2011 and 2012.
Showing only in 3D, we had to plop down a whopping 25 bucks at the local theatre. Whoops. I'm starting to rant about money... Which is silly, because almost as soon as the movie began, I couldn't remember anything like money.

I was immediately swept into another world, another time, when I, too, had a remarkably similar dream. Seeing the stunningly gorgeous Katy in all her glittery glam emerging from beneath the stage, decked out in a peppermint-themed cocktail dress complete with spinning peppermint candy discs before thousands of dedicated, cheering fans, rhinestone encrusted mic in hand... well, there was no hope for me then. The tears began within the first ten minutes and there were many more to come throughout the next hour and a half.
Why tears? Was I simply overcome with starstruck fanaticism? Not really. Although I do adore Katy Perry and have followed her career for a few years, the tears were not a result of seeing her on the big screen in all her 3-dimensional spectacularness. No. The tears were for me. Remembrance of a past life, another place in time, when I had magnificent dreams of performing in sparkling splendor for the masses, came rushing at me before I even realized what I had done to myself in coming to see this film.
The parallelisms between her and me were stupefying. From the sheltered, charismatically Christian childhood to the unequaled vision of image she always saw for herself. The costumes, the sets, the wigs, the bejeweled microphone! The similarities were uncanny.
For those of you who don't know about my past... yes, there were many years of my life spent in great anticipation and grueling hard work all for the dream of becoming discovered as one of the world's greatest vocalists/entertainers. Six years went by with nothing but this goal as the center of my, (and my family's,) focus. Was I any good? Ask anyone who knew me then. I fear tooting my own horn may come across vainly, but the answer is very much a "yes." I was good. I had the "it" factor. Of course, this was before the emergence of the plethora of opportunities for youth seeking fame in music, i.e.: American Idol, America's Got Talent, The X Factor, etc. Why didn't I make it? Shamefully, I admit... I quit. I lost the dream somewhere along the way. I lost sight of the true goal. I missed reality and I crashed back to Earth with the new dream of "just wanting to have a normal life."
Regrets? Plenty. But, would I do it differently if given the opportunity again? I don't really know. I would love to see what I could have become, yet at the same time, I think, "How could I change anything?" If I had changed the course of my life, I wouldn't have had my lovely children, learned the life lessons I needed to grow up and become the woman I am today. I look at my baby and when she laughs with her wide, gummy smile, waving at me and saying "mama" with a drooling grin, I have to admit that I wouldn't have it any other way. My two pretty girls were created and ready to enter this world exactly when they did. How could I have pulled that off unless my life had followed the path exactly as it did? *shrugs*
Back to the movie... A wonderful documentary... truly. It didn't JUST bring about regretful memories of a long-gone past, but also made me desire to see this lovely young woman in concert... or ANYWHERE!
Her show looked fantastic! A divine wonderland embracing the true beauty of the female spirit. Candyland and Cirque du Soleil had a baby and it's offspring is Katy Perry's stage show.  Almost all of her costumes are some sort of candy-themed, candy-inspired masterpiece and she's the only one who could ever really pull that kind of extremity off.
The movie-going audience gets to see her perform almost every song from the album "Teenage Dream," and I must tell you that this gal can REALLY SING!  There is no lip-syncing.  There is no extreme pyrotechnics or loud, computerized bass to hide an off-key voice.  She is the real deal.  She can dance AND sing at the same time and her voice never wavers.  She has a perfect figure, a classically beautiful face and an incredible, strong voice.  She writes ALL of her songs.  She plays the guitar.  She is simply, in the least simplistic of ways, amazing.
There were some moments of genuine sadness as the movie did not leave out her relationship, from start to finish, with Russell Brand.  Yes, I cried about that, too, especially seeing Katy so very downcast and depressed during that time after just seeing her so unequivocally happy and ever-smiling in all the footage prior.  I admit, I was a huge fan of their romance and was absolutely so disheartened when hearing the news of their split.
In the end, all one wants to do is give her a hug and wish her "good luck" as she takes the next steps in her life journey.  Katy Perry: Part of Me is inspiring and fun.  I recommend it mostly to the girls, but also for anyone who ever doubted this woman as a true talent deserving of her credits.  I dare you to think she isn't incredible after seeing this.

**One last note:  The song playing at the end with the rolling credits is her new single "Wide Awake."  It is an epic song that reaches inside of me and strangles me with so much truth and beauty, I get teary-eyed each time I hear it.
Watch the video here:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Plenty Filling: Zea Rotisserie & Grill

About a week ago, I decided to take my husband and baby out for an early dinner/late lunch.  The hubby couldn't decide what he wanted, so I ventured over to my urbanspoon account to remind myself of my restaurant wishlist.

Surveying the choices, my eyebrows were knitting at the potentials... apparently I have expensive desires.  Then I saw it.  Bingo! Zea Rotisserie & Grill!  I have been wanting to try this place for a year, having driven past many times and having read plenty of rave reviews from local connoisseurs of Albuquerque establishments. 

Arriving in the late afternoon, (before the dinner rush,) we were immediately seated by the man who was also our server.  We were asked if we preferred a table or a booth and, as usual, we both said "booth."  Let me tell you... the booth was HUGE!  I wasn't too pleased that our server chose to seat us at the one booth in the joint that had a major dip in the cushion and had been sloppily repaired with industrial tape.  (I had to scoot way in to avoid the broken spring.)  All that aside, however, and not wishing to complain, we ordered our soft drinks and scanned the menu while our server, Mike recited the specials of the day.  (He was very sweet but his voice was unnecessarily loud.  So loud, in fact, he woke up the baby, who had been sleeping pleasantly in her carrier until then.)

Continuing an optimistic view and ignoring the booming sounds of our server, (even echoing throughout the fairly empty restaurant as he went about his serving duties with us and his other tables,) Michael and I continued to look at and discuss the items on the menu.  What a meat lovers dream!  Every kind of grilled and roasted meat you can imagine priced anywhere from reasonable to down-right riDONKulous.

Asian Almond Shrimp
Remembering other reviews I had read which lavished about the giant portions, the man and I decided to order two things and split them, but first... an appetizer.  The waiter recommended the Hummus or the Asian Almond Shrimp and I had also read about the Asian Shrimp being pretty tasty... So, we ordered the shrimp.  It was indeed delicious; large, crispy-fried shrimp on a bed of crunchy, fresh cabbage and topped with almond slivers, green onions and a spicy-sweet sauce.  (The "sauce" was more of a glaze and although yummy, it was a tad bit sticky for my taste.  Too much corn starch.)

For our main courses, we ordered the Sweet & Spicy Rotisserie Chicken with Zea Potatoes and Roasted Corn, and the Honey Island Chicken Sandwich with Fries.  (When we ordered the sandwich, the waiter asked if we'd seen one before and saying, "no," he said we were in for a treat.)

Boy, were we ever!  It was gigantic!  We could have just shared the sandwich...

Honey Island Chicken Sandwich - Fried breast, bacon, Jack cheese, honey mustard, lettuce & tomato 
The french fries were quite thin and very crispy, (reminded me of Steak N' Shake's shoestring fries.)  Bridgett really liked them, too.  The chicken sandwich was killer!  And, it was only $9.95!  I didn't like their version of honey mustard though... too vinegary.  Good thing I ordered mayo on the side. 

What was really nice was how they split our chicken dish for us onto two separate plates.  The roasted corn was to die for!  I will return just for that!  The Zea Potatoes were heavily and deliciously seasoned chunks of potato... I wasn't sure if they had been fried or roasted, but they were good.  The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked, but I was highly disappointed to see that same, sticky glaze from the shrimp appetizer now smothering my chicken as well.  Like I said before, it was tasty, but way too sticky.  My hands were so messy by the end of the meal, I had to use a baby wipe to clean them.  (They should bring moist towelettes with the check.)
Sweet & Spicy Chicken with Roasted Corn and Zea Potatoes

All in all, the food was quite scrumptious, the service was fast and our drinks were never empty.  If you order smartly, you won't spend a fortune.  Portions are large; sharing is not a bad idea.

The broken booth, the overtly-loud server, the too-sticky glaze and no changing table in the men's restroom, (a MUST for any modern eating establishment.)  Also, we were seated near the servers' station and could hear EVERYTHING they said to one another, and a lot of it was NOT family friendly.

I WILL return, but not any time soon and I positively will NOT be ordering anything with that glaze on it.

All this food for less than $25, (excluding the appetizer and drinks.)

Zea Rotisserie & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 9, 2012

How to Train Your Dragon: A Thrilling Experience

After a few days of watching a marathon of Season Two of HBO's Game of Thrones, I was genuinely ready to enjoy something a bit more lighthearted.  Over two years I've wanted to see How to Train Your Dragon, I finally had the chance, and now... I have a new favourite!

The animated film starts you right in the action; a thrilling scene of a town-full of Vikings having to fight off their pesky adversaries, dragons.  It's narrated by our hero, Hiccup, voiced by the very funny, monotone Jay Baruchel, known for his roles in The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Knocked Up.

A story of hope and change, showcasing beautifully-animated, fantasy creatures and a special world right out of a child's imagination, How to Train Your Dragon has all the elements of a true classic.  The animation is, of course, spectacular; to be expected from a Dreamworks production.  The perfect voice cast includes: Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, and Craig Ferguson.
Gobber the Belch (Craig Ferguson) & Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler)

And, from the moment you see those amazing, feline/canine-like, as-only-animation-can-portray, green eyes of the main character dragon, Toothless, you're hooked in to his plight- a completely loveable, albeit misunderstood animal, now injured permanently by some of Hiccup's early shenanigans, who just needs a friend and some guidance and instruction to help him fly again.  After Hiccup finds Toothless, the friendship which follows is epically charming and will have you saying "awww" more than you realize.
Toothless and Hiccup

This movie has some hilarious and touching moments and some very thrilling flying scenes, (which made me super regretful that I didn't get to see it on the big screen in 3D.)  The climactic ending is full of action and will have you on the edge of your seat, gasping and wide-eyed.  A bittersweet turn of events in the last scenes will make you like this movie even more, offering a cool lesson of integrity and acceptance of things we may not understand but cannot change.

Toothless in one of his cat-like moments, sneaking up on Hiccup
There is no doubt I will be seeing this again VERY soon and I just know when you do, it will become an instant favourite for you also.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and a definite 4 STARS!  Rent or buy it today.