Friday, October 31, 2014

Playlist: October 2014

I realize that today is Halloween, but since we're not doing anything fun to celebrate, that won't be the focus of this post.  (If you really need to read something Halloween related, you can check out this post, in which I list some of the best horror/thriller movies I've ever seen.)  Instead, the focus will be on my monthly playlist.

Every October, I take some time to remember Elliott Smith.  (For those who aren't familiar with him, he took his own life on October 21, 2003 at the age of 34.)  I don't think I've written much (if anything) about him on this blog, and it's definitely time to change that.

I have always loved this picture of him.  Image courtesy of

Many musicians have inspired and impacted me over the years, but none have ever done so in the way Elliott Smith has.

I began listening to him during my senior year of college.  Sometimes I wish I'd discovered his music earlier (he'd already passed away by that time), but I also feel like I found him at a time when I actually needed him.  I remember putting in my earbuds, starting an Elliott Smith album on my iPod, and feeling, if even just for a moment, connected.  Although I didn't personally know him, I felt as though he somehow knew me ... It was almost as if he'd read what was written in my mind, heart, and soul, and then turned it into some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful music I'd ever heard.

So much of that year (and the year following) was lost in a blur of depression, but I truly believe that Elliott Smith's music was one of the major factors that prevented me from completely losing myself.

This month I'm sharing some of my favorite Elliott Smith songs.  While a few of these fall under the "I just like it" category, the majority will give you a glimpse into my thoughts and feelings during that particularly turbulent point in my life.  These are some of the songs I wish I'd written ... The songs that made me think, "Elliott Smith is a fucking genius.  He just gets it."

Click on the link below to listen to this playlist.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Tex Mex Pasta with Creamy Avocado Jalapeno Sauce

I've been sitting on this recipe for a while.  It was definitely good enough to be featured on this blog, but it was impossible to get a good picture.  I briefly considered making it again and trying to get a better photo, but I honestly didn't think it would help.  This is one of those times where I have to say, "Just trust me ... It tastes much better than it looks!"

I mean, seriously ... It looks like a baby ate some green mashed up vegetables and then proceeded to shit all over a plate of pasta.  (And yes, I realize I'm making this meal sound horribly unappetizing.)  But look at this:

I'm really not kidding.  It looks gross.

Despite its unfortunate appearance, this pasta is actually really good.  I drew inspiration for this meal from a couple of different recipes, combining elements from each and playing around with the flavors to make it my own.  I was definitely happy with the result (despite the less than amazing pictures)!

Tex Mex Pasta with Creamy Avocado Jalapeno Sauce 

Adapted from recipes on Budget Bytes and Gimme Some Oven.

Ingredient List:
  • 1 box short pasta (I used Garofalo organic gemelli from Costco)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp low fat margarine or butter (I used low fat margarine)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (You don't need to chop this since it will be going in the food processor, but if you don't want the sauce to be very spicy, you should cut it enough to remove some of the seeds)
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup cheese, shredded (I used a cheddar Jack blend, but I think a Mexican blend or Pepper Jack would also be good)
  • 2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz. can vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chicken broth (If you want to make this a true vegetarian meal, you could substitute vegetable broth here)
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used low fat, and it worked well)
  • 3 tsp cilantro, divided
  • 4 tsp garlic salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper

I thought lifting some pasta up with a fork might somehow make it look more appetizing.  It really didn't, but this was still one of the better pictures I took.


1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the red bell pepper and red onion, cooking until slightly softened.

2.  Add the diced green chilies, black beans, vegetable broth, pasta, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, 2 tsp garlic salt, and 2 tsp cilantro to the vegetables in the skillet.

3.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover.  Allow it to simmer until the pasta is fully cooked and the liquid has mostly been soaked up by the pasta.  (This should take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on what type of pasta you use.)

4.  While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a separate small saucepan.

5.  Add the flour, then slowly pour in the chicken broth, stirring well to get rid of any lumps.

6.  Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Allow the sauce to simmer for approximately 5 minutes, stirring often.

7.  Add the sour cream, 1 tsp cilantro, and 2 tsp garlic salt to the sauce.  Stir well to combine.

8.  Add the avocados and jalapeno pepper to a food processor, blending until fairly smooth.  (It's okay if there are some lumps at this point.)

9.  Slowly pour the sauce into the food processor, and blend with the avocados and jalapeno pepper until smooth and creamy.  (Be very careful blending hot liquid in a food processor!  Make sure you open the lid regularly to allow heat to escape!)

10.  Squeeze the juice from the lime into the sauce, and pulse a few more times until everything is thoroughly mixed.

11.  Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta in the skillet.

12.  Top the pasta and sauce with shredded cheese and tomato, then replace the lid until the cheese has melted.

I realize that this may sound like a lot of steps (and a lot of ingredients), but it's really a pretty simple dish.  It reheats fairly well, but I will warn you that the sauce may turn a little brown.  I was worried it might be gross after I saw the color change, but it actually didn't alter the taste at all.

I didn't serve a side dish when I originally made this meal, but if I do in the future, I'll probably just make a simple green salad.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Divulge and Indulge Guide to the Best Scary Movies

Image provided by Unsplash ( and edited by me.

I love scary movies.  Although I'll watch a shitty B-horror movie from time to time or give a more mainstream movie a chance (some are actually very good and have made it onto this list), I typically gravitate toward foreign horror/thriller films.

I'm not going to pretend that every foreign horror movie is amazing, though.  There are some real duds out there (I'm looking at you, Sheitan and Calvaire!).  However, in order for me to consider a horror movie "great," it needs to do the following:

1.  Scare the shit out of me.

2.  Leave an impression on me by presenting images and/or forcing me to feel things that I can't immediately shake once the movie is over.  Bonus points if I still think about it years later.

3.  Have an interesting plot or twist that sets it apart from other horror movies.

And, for whatever reason, more foreign horror movies have fulfilled these three requirements than their American counterparts.

Before I get to the list (and at the risk of sounding like a total bitch), I do want to say that I really dislike when people refuse to watch foreign films because they "don't want to read the movie."  If you're one of these people, you probably won't like many of the movies I'm including in this list.

Reading subtitles has never interfered with my enjoyment of a movie.  It's honestly not difficult to keep up with the words on the screen while watching the action.  I've never seen a movie that flashed the subtitles so quickly that I couldn't catch what was being said.  I mean, if you don't like that sort of thing, fine.  But if you just think you wouldn't like it, I urge you to give it a chance.  I especially urge you to watch one of the movies on this list if you're a fan of horror/thrillers ... You may just have a new scary movie to add to your own list of favorites.

The Divulge and Indulge Guide to the Best Scary Movies

1.  Them (Ils)

Image courtesy of

This is one of the first foreign horror films I recommend when people ask for suggestions.  It's not quite as "extreme" as some of the others that will make an appearance on this list, but it's incredibly effective.  I find home invasion movies especially terrifying, and Ils was no exception.  It's supposedly based on true events, and though that may or may not be true, the plot twist (which I refuse to spoil!) just made my skin crawl.  I watched it 4 or 5 years ago, and I still think about it from time to time.

2.  Inside (À l'intérieur)

Image courtesy of

I would not recommend this movie if you fall under any of the following categories: you (or your significant other) are pregnant, you dislike gory movies, and/or you have a weak stomach.  This movie is ridiculously fucked up, but it's still one of the best horror movies I've ever seen.  Inside also utilizes the home invasion theme, but takes it up a notch (or fifteen).  Following a tragic accident, a newly widowed woman is terrorized in her home by another woman who will stop at nothing to get her unborn baby.  One scene in particular has literally haunted me for years.  (And, if you've seen it, I'm actually not talking about the ending.)  I remember watching and just staring at the screen with my mouth hanging wide open.  I'm pretty sure I also started crying because it got to me that much.  I know I'm probably not making this sound at all appealing, but trust me ... If you like really fucked up horror movies, you need to watch this.

3.  I Saw the Devil

Image courtesy of

I wasn't sure if this should make the list simply because I consider it more of a "crime thriller" versus a "horror film."  Although it didn't scare the shit out of me, it was definitely suspenseful enough to keep me on the edge of my seat.  It also had an interesting plot and more than a few scenes that really stuck with me (particularly the brilliant ending) ... So I figured it deserved a spot here.  It's kind of a long movie (almost 2.5 hours) with more than a few horrifyingly brutal moments, but it's definitely worth watching.

4.  The Vanishing (Spoorloos)

Image courtesy of

This is also more of a thriller than a true horror movie, but it will get under your skin.  It's not gory at all, so it's perfect for someone who might typically be turned off by that sort of thing.  The Vanishing is a powerful film that forces you to consider how far you'd go to find out what happened when the person you love goes missing.  If you decide to check this one out, please make sure you're watching the original 1988 version (not the American remake).  Although I haven't seen the remake, various reviews have made it clear that the filmmakers decided to take a more "Hollywood" approach (basically watering down the story and making the ending much less effective).

5.  High Tension (Haute Tension)

051 - High Tension
Image courtesy of

I strongly suggest going into this film with little to no knowledge of the plot.  I think you can still enjoy it even if you've come across spoilers and know what the twist is, but it's definitely more fun if you have no clue what's coming next.  This is another intense French film filled with gore (similar to Inside), and many of the scenes will stick with you years later.

6.  The Seasoning House

Image courtesy of

I just watched this movie last week, and I can't stop thinking about it.  The material is incredibly bleak and is, at times, extremely uncomfortable to watch.  And while The Seasoning House probably won't scare the shit out of you (this is another movie I'd consider more "thriller" than "horror"), it's definitely an effective film (particularly when it comes to feelings of panic and claustrophobia).  The movie grabbed my attention from the beginning, using haunting imagery and slowly piecing together the main character's story through the use of flashbacks.  And Rosie Day (the actress playing the main character) is fucking amazing.  Her character, Angel, is deaf and mute, but Day manages to give an incredibly convincing and passionate performance without uttering a single word.  All of the characters also speak English (though the movie is set in the Balkans), so it may be a more attractive choice for those who don't like reading subtitles.

7.  The Conjuring

Image courtesy of

This is another movie supposedly based on true events.  I don't know how much is fact and how much is fiction, but I will say that this movie definitely met all three of my aforementioned criteria for a great horror movie.  In fact, just looking at the stills to find a good picture for this post made my heart race ... The images brought back memories of the movie, and reminded me why it deserves a spot on this list.  I recently tried to explain this movie to a friend who hadn't seen it, and I realized there was no way to describe it without making it sound dumb (and like pretty much every other haunted house horror movie out there).  If you haven't seen this, though, you need to ... It's so much more than your average scary movie.

8.  28 Days Later ...

Image courtesy of

I'm pretty sure everyone has probably seen this movie by now, but it deserves a spot on this list anyway.  I saw this movie when it was originally released in the theater, and I've seen it numerous times since then (I have it on DVD).  Although the ending is a little "meh" for me, I love everything else about this film.  One of my favorite things about it is the fact that it's not just a typical zombie movie.  (I actually don't like zombie stuff that much.)  The other thing I love about it is that it has characters that you actually learn to care about (which is more than I can say for a lot of horror movies).  Without giving anything away (just in case you haven't seen it yet), I cry pretty much every time I watch Jim in his childhood home ... It just completely breaks my heart.  If you've never seen this movie, please do yourself a favor and watch it immediately.

9.  Saw

Image courtesy of

I admit it: I loved Saw.  I haven't seen all of the sequels (and the ones I did see were either not very good or just okay), but I thought the original was fantastic.  I actually went into it thinking it was probably overrated and that it wouldn't scare me at all ... And then I watched it.  I think the concept is really what got to me.  The idea that someone could be out there, watching me, knowing that, as someone who struggles with depression, I often take my life for granted really freaked me out.  I was living alone when I first saw this movie, and I remember very clearly coming home from work every night and checking all of the closets, under the bed, and behind the shower curtain before I could relax.  I knew it was just a movie, but at the time I watched it, I was extremely depressed ... So I couldn't shake the fear that someone (obviously not Jigsaw, but someone with similar ideas) might be waiting for me to come home to "teach me a lesson."  This movie hit really close to home, and, because of that, I found it terrifying.

10.  Audition (Ôdishon)

Image courtesy of

Audition was one of the first Asian horror movies I watched, and it definitely sparked my interest in seeing more.  The concept was interesting (a widower holds an "audition" for a new wife, and he becomes fascinated with a woman who isn't quite what she seems), and the film was (at least in my opinion) not simply made for shock value.  It's actually pretty tame when compared with some of Takashi Miike's other work.  (Don't believe me?  Watch Visitor Q.  It's not really a horror film, but it's fucking disturbing and disgusting.  I will not be seeing that one again!)  While I didn't find Audition to be the scariest movie out there, it's deeply unsettling and not something you'll easily forget.

11.  Let the Right One In (Låt den Rätte Komma In)

Image courtesy of

I really struggled with whether or not to include Let the Right One In on this list.  To me, it's more of a drama than a horror or thriller.  However, because the film's main focus is vampires and because some of the scenes are rather brutal, I felt like it deserved a spot here.  I haven't seen the American remake, so I honestly don't know how the two compare.  I will say, though, that the Swedish version is darkly beautiful and, in many ways, quite sad.  I've seen this movie a few times, and it never fails to leave an impression.

12.  The Exorcist

Image courtesy of

I've always been pretty freaked out by the concept of demonic possession, but The Exorcist is the one film I've seen on that topic that really got under my skin.  I was initially worried that the special effects would seem ridiculous so many years after the film's release, but they really didn't.  I was completely drawn into the story, and haven't forgotten it years later.  This is truly a must see for any horror fan.

13.  The Girl Next Door

Image courtesy of

The Girl Next Door is not for the faint of heart.  I can stomach a lot, but this movie depicted so much intense brutality that even I found it difficult to watch.  That being said, this movie is fucking scary.  It's loosely based on true events (the film An American Crime is based on the same story, and though I haven't seen it, all reviews tend to imply that it's more factual than The Girl Next Door), and I think that makes it even more sickening (if that's possible).  If you do choose to watch this one, please be warned: the images of torture and abuse are not easy to forget.  Trust me ... I still think about this movie, and I watched it several years ago.  I'm not sure I could handle watching it again.

I was initially going to try to list at least 15 movies here, but I think this list is sufficient.  There were some movies I considered adding (and some that made this list that definitely didn't meet all of my criteria for a great horror film), but in the end, these seemed like the best choices.

I don't often get many comments on this blog, but if you've seen any of these, I'd love to know what you think about them.  I'd also be open to any horror/thriller movie recommendations ... So feel free to share those as well!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Boneless Buffalo Wings

Eric and I used to go to Buffalo Wild Wings all the time.  Although we still like to go once in a while, I don't think the food is as good as it used to be.  I mean, it was never amazing ... But the chicken used to be more tender and juicy.  It also used to come with more sauce.

As you can probably see, I like sauce.

When I found this recipe, I knew I had to try it out.  These boneless buffalo wings are perfect for game day, and they're surprisingly easy to make.  I followed the original recipe pretty closely (with a few changes), and my chicken came out perfectly crispy (yet still juicy and tender on the inside).  And the sauce ... Oh, the sauce.  While I appreciate the variety of sauce flavors Buffalo Wild Wings offers, nothing beats having the ability to add as much (or as little) sauce as you want.  (And it's not like I can't buy other sauce flavors if I want to change it up in the future.)

If you're a fan of boneless buffalo wings, you should definitely make these.  You won't be disappointed!

Boneless Buffalo Wings

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Budget Savvy Diva.

Ingredient List:
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% milk, since that's what we usually have on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
  • Canola oil for frying (You'll want enough to fill a pan with about 2-3 inches of oil)
I was really proud of the way these turned out, especially since I'd never fried chicken at home before trying this recipe.


1.  Heat a pan filled with 2-3 inches of canola oil over medium high heat.

2.  Mix the flour, cornstarch, cumin, garlic salt, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, and chili powder in a large bowl.

3.  Whisk the milk and egg together in a separate bowl.

4.  Dip a chicken chunk into the wet mixture, then into the dry mixture.  Repeat this step (you'll want to dip every chicken chunk in both mixtures twice).  Continue dipping the chicken chunks until they've all been coated.

5.  Drop several chicken chunks (I did about 5-10 at a time) into the oil and fry until golden brown and crispy.  (This should only take a few minutes, so keep an eye on the chicken!)

6.  Remove the chicken chunks from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb some of the grease.  Continue following steps 5 and 6 until all of the chicken has been fried.

7.  In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and hot sauce.

8.  Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour the sauce over it, gently stirring to coat.

It was a little time consuming, but totally worth it!  I made this for dinner and served it with a side of steamed vegetables, but it would also work well as an appetizer.

And, just so you know, I also tried one of the fried chicken chunks before coating it with sauce, and it was delicious.  So if you're not really a fan of buffalo chicken but like fried chicken nuggets, you could still use this recipe and simply skip steps 7 and 8.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Pecan French Toast

Remember when I promised a pumpkin recipe would appear on this blog sometime this month?  Well, today is the day for that recipe!

I know everyone doesn't love pumpkin stuff, but for those of us that do, this is an amazing meal to have for brunch on a lazy weekend.  Eric and I both loved this, and it was so easy to put together (especially since we worked together to make it).

This was so delicious.  I wish I had time to make it every morning!

Pumpkin Pecan French Toast

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Cooking Classy.

Ingredient List:
  • 1 loaf thick white bread (like French bread or Challah), cut in thick slices
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée (If you find yourself wondering what to do with the rest of the can, you can always make Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • Butter for the griddle (I didn't measure this out, so just use whatever you think is appropriate to coat your griddle)
  • Chopped pecans for serving
  • Maple syrup for serving
  • Whipped cream for serving
Doesn't this look amazing?


1.  Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees.  (According to the original recipe, you can also use a nonstick skillet over medium heat.)

2.  Combine the pumpkin purée, milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a large bowl.

3.  Butter the griddle, making sure to coat the surface evenly.

4.  Dip each slice of bread into the pumpkin mixture.  (I followed the instructions given in the original recipe, and allowed each slice to sit for a few seconds in order to better absorb the mixture.  I also gave each slice a slight squeeze before flipping it to the other side to repeat this step.)

5.  Place each slice of bread on the griddle and cook until golden brown.  Flip the bread to the other side and again cook until golden brown.

6.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans and serve warm with maple syrup and whipped cream.

See?  Super simple!  I'll also note that while the pumpkin flavor is definitely noticeable, it's not overwhelming.  So if you're someone who likes but doesn't love pumpkin flavored stuff, this could still be a good breakfast/brunch option for you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Ode to Michael Pitt

I know I said I wanted to make Divulge and Indulge more of a priority, but I obviously haven't.  I've had a horrible cold for almost a week now, and while a cold isn't completely debilitating, it has sucked out a lot of my energy and made it nearly impossible to focus on much beyond a few episodes of Bob's Burgers on Netflix.  (We just started watching it after Eric's younger brother recommended it while he was staying with us earlier this month.  If you've never watched it, you should ... It's hilarious!)

Although I haven't written much lately, I've had quite a few post ideas floating around in my head.  I'm hoping I'll eventually find the time and energy to form interesting, thoughtful posts from these ideas, but for now you'll have to settle with a resurrected LiveJournal entry.

I originally wrote this in April 2008.  I've tweaked it a bit, but it's mostly the same.  I wrote it as kind of a silly thing, mostly because 99.9% of my LiveJournal entries were either long rants about all the things I hated about my life and/or men or really depressing stream of consciousness entries ... I guess I got tired of writing the same old shit (at least for one day).

Anyway, this post is all about one of my favorite actors.  He's probably grown more popular since I first posted this over 6 years ago due to his role on HBO's Boardwalk Empire, but he's not the kind of actor you'll see plastered all over magazine covers or making regular rounds on the late night talk shows.  I'd venture to say that although he's probably a little more well known these days, a significant number of people have likely still never heard of him.  Or, if they've heard of him, they probably haven't seen much of his work since he typically chooses roles in independent films over Hollywood blockbusters.

Today I'll be sharing some of the reasons why Michael Pitt has continued to be one of my favorite actors.  Hopefully this will inspire you to check out some of his work (if you haven't already)!

An Ode to Michael Pitt

Image courtesy of

1.  He's a good actor.  Plain and simple.

2.  According to, he has said, "I just do movies I like.  I mean, I do movies I would want to go see."  Some people may think this sounds dumb, but I think it sounds like he has some integrity.  You're probably not going to see him in some special effects heavy summer blockbuster (unless he really likes the script), and I think that's probably a good thing.  The way I see it, he chooses roles because he thinks they'll allow him to be part of an interesting project and/or he feels they will challenge him as an actor.  If I were an actress (and trust me, I still daydream about this from time to time!), that's the kind of approach I would want to take as well ... So I can definitely respect that.  (Side note: He actually did have a recurring role on Dawson's Creek back in the day as Jen's younger boyfriend, Henry.  He hasn't really been in anything like that since, though.  And, really, it was Dawson's Creek ... I'd be lying if I said I didn't watch that show when it was airing!)

3.  I thought he was a good actor before I watched Last Days.  After seeing that movie, I was like, "Holy shit!  This guy is fucking amazing."  Here's why: In the movie, he plays a character modeled after Kurt Cobain (and the resemblance is quite eerie, as you will see below), and manages to evoke some serious emotion without saying much of anything.  In fact, the majority of the film plays out with no dialogue, so he relied heavily on facial expressions and body language.  It's not easy to make an audience really feel something without saying anything, but he managed to do it.

Kind of creepy, huh?  I know Michael Pitt is covering his mouth in the picture, but still ... You can't deny that he did an excellent job getting into character!  Although the film is only loosely based on the events surrounding Cobain's death and it's not meant to be a biographical movie (Pitt's character is named Blake, and his bandmates are not Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic), there are a lot of similarities between his character and Kurt Cobain (and not just in looks).  Michael Pii image courtesy of and Kurt Cobain image courtesy of  Images edited by me.

4.  He's also a musician, and a few of his songs and covers have been featured in his movies.  I actually really liked the song "Death to Birth" that he performed in Last Days.  He was in a band called Pagoda for a while (though they broke up in 2011), and apparently (according to my "extensive" internet research) they were initially signed by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.  Pretty awesome, in my opinion!

5.  He's not afraid to get completely naked (yes, full frontal) in a movie.  This may seem like a weird thing to add to the list, but I actually do admire people who are comfortable enough in their own skin to do nude scenes.  And I'm not just talking about a simulated sex scene ... I'm talking about real acting: a serious, emotional scene done completely naked.  Don't believe me?  Check out The Dreamers.  Not only will you see a close-up of his penis (yes, you read that correctly), but you will also see an incredibly intense scene unfold between the three main characters during which none of them are wearing a stitch of clothing.  The funny thing is, the acting is so good you barely notice it (the nudity, I mean).  Michael Pitt has also acknowledged in past interviews that he was nervous about some of the scenes in that movie because he knew it could potentially damage his career in American film.  I really liked what he said regarding this, though: "It's looked down upon in American culture at a serious level.  It could be perceived not as work, but as pornography.  Every time I was nervous about it, I would remind myself that possibly I was going to be a part of something that was going to change those attitudes.  I don't agree with those values at all.  It's totally fine showing someone getting their head blown off in America and you can't show the human body.  I think that shows something about the culture."

6.  He's not just another "pretty boy" actor.  I would never call him ugly (he's not at all), but he's not conventionally attractive in the way that many other young actors are.  I think this is important because I doubt very seriously he's getting all of his roles (and gaining fans) based solely on his looks.  (And though I wouldn't list him as one of my top celebrity crushes, I'll admit he can look pretty hot at times ... See the picture below if you want proof.)

Image courtesy of

7.  He's versatile.  Though he often plays really dark characters (like Donny in Bully, Justin in Murder by Numbers, and Paul in the English language version of Funny Games), he has also portrayed really sweet and/or vulnerable characters (like Matthew in The Dreamers and Chep in Rhinoceros Eyes).

I could probably say more about him, but this list is probably sufficient.

If you've never seen any of his work and want some suggestions regarding where to start, here's a short list of some of my favorites:

1.  Bully  (He only has a smaller supporting role, but it's an overall excellent movie and worth watching.  A word of caution ... It's a Larry Clark film, so it may be a little shocking if you're not familiar with his work.  If you think something that may be classified as "disturbing" might bother you, I'd recommend reading up on the film and Larry Clark's other work to make sure it's something you're comfortable watching.  I think this one is pretty tame in comparison to, say, Kids, but I still wanted to offer a disclaimer.)

2.  The Dreamers  (As I mentioned before, this movie contains a lot of nudity.  I don't think this should deter you from watching it, but I know that some people just aren't comfortable with that sort of thing.)

3.  Hedwig and the Angry Inch  (He also only has a smaller supporting role in this movie, but it's so good that it had to make the list.  While you probably won't get a great idea of his acting ability, you'll at least enjoy a really funny and interesting musical that features some really great songs.)

4.  Funny Games (English language version)  (One of my favorite things about this movie is that Michael Haneke, director of the original Funny Games that was released 10 years prior, also directed this version.  As for the movie itself, it's brutal.  Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet were perfectly cast as clean-cut, preppy psychopaths.)

5.  Last Days  (As I said earlier in this post, I think this film really showcases his talent.  I'd say fans of Nirvana may be more interested in this movie than the average viewer, but it could really appeal to anyone who enjoys artsy dramas.)

6.  Boardwalk Empire  (Eric and I never got past season 2 of this show because we got rid of HBO, but we really liked it when we were watching it regularly.  I will say, hopefully without giving too many spoilers, that Michael Pitt doesn't remain on the show after that season ... So if you're watching just for him, you may be disappointed.  I'm still interested in watching later seasons of the show, though.  I initially started watching it because of Michael Pitt, but Eric and I both really enjoyed it overall.  I'll have to catch up on it at some point!)

I haven't had an opportunity to see one of his newest films, I Origins.  Eric and I were both really looking forward to it when we first saw the trailer, but it was only in the independent theater here for like a week or two during a time when we were both really busy.  I'm waiting (very impatiently!) for it to become available on Netflix ... It's in my saved DVD queue right now.

Anyway, that's all the Michael Pitt love I have to give right now.  As you can see, I think he's pretty awesome.  If I were an actress, I'd definitely want to star in a movie with him!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Cheesy Hash Brown Chili

Last week I shared my food related goals for October.  One of those goals was to post at least two "good for game day" recipes, and this Cheesy Hash Brown Chili is the perfect meal for a day of lounging around the house watching football (or a million episodes of whatever show you're currently addicted to on Netflix).

So delicious and so comforting!

I made this meal once several years ago, but I'd completely forgotten about it.  I was looking for something different to make using ground beef, and when I couldn't find anything that appealed to me online, I started flipping through an old notebook that I remembered jotting some recipes in a long time ago.  When I saw this Cheesy Hash Brown Chili, I knew I had to make it again!

The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly.  I was still learning a lot when it came to cooking, and I definitely wasn't confident enough to make any changes to recipes!  These days, it's rare for me to follow a recipe exactly.  I usually will if I can't think of anything that would make it better or if it's a dessert (though even then I'll sometimes make a few changes) ... But typically I'll try to, at the very least, tweak the flavors a bit.

I'm so glad I decided to do that this time around!  It's amazing what a few extra spices can do to make a recipe go from good to great.  And I promise ... This recipe is great!  (If I do say so myself.)

So if you're looking for something warm, comforting, delicious, and perfect for game day, this is the meal for you!

Seriously ... Make this soon!

Cheesy Hash Brown Chili

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on The Rachael Ray Show.

Ingredient List:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 lb frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot sauce)
  • 1 cup water


1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

3.  Add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant.

4.  Add the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano, black pepper, and sea salt.  Cook until the meat is mostly browned, breaking it up as it cooks.

5.  Add the tomato paste and stir until well combined with the meat, onion, garlic, and spices.

6.  Stir in the hot sauce, red kidney beans, diced green chilies, diced tomatoes (with their juices), and water.  Bring the chili to a boil.

7.  Partially cover the skillet and turn the heat to low.  Allow the chili to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Pour the chili into the prepared dish, making sure to spread it as evenly as possible.

9.  Add the frozen hash browns, again spreading them as evenly as possible, then sprinkle the cheese over the entire dish.

10.  Bake the chili for 30-35 minutes (I baked mine for 30 minutes), or until the chili is bubbling and the cheese has completely melted and browned a bit.

I served this with a side of Steamfresh vegetables in an effort to make the meal a little healthier.  (And because I'm not very creative when it comes to side dishes.)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Food for Fall: An October Food Challenge

Yesterday I shared the results of my September fitness challenge, and at the end of that post I promised I would post my goals for this month's personal challenge link-up today.

As I mentioned yesterday, this month's challenge is all about food.  If you've read (or even skimmed) my blog, you've probably noticed that I love food.  (If you're new here and also love food, you should check out some of my Tasty Tuesday posts.  Some of my personal favorites include Creamy Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta, White Cheddar and Fontina Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce, Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Spinach and Artichoke Tortellini Bake.  So good!)

Coming up with food related goals for the month was actually harder than I thought it would be.  I had several ideas, but I also didn't want to be overly ambitious.  Yes, the point is to challenge yourself, but, as I learned last month, I might feel like a failure if I don't achieve all of my goals.  (Not to mention the fact that October and November are going to be pretty busy months for me, so I won't have as much time to devote to these challenges as I would like.)

Back Camera
This is a picture from a few years ago.  Eric and I were getting ready to carve the pumpkins, but they didn't turn out awesome enough to show the finished product.  The pan was used to separate the seeds for roasting and the plastic container was for the disgusting pumpkin guts.  The beer was for drinking, obvi.

My October 2014 Food Goals:

1.  At least 2 of my Tasty Tuesday posts will feature "good for game day" recipes.  Despite the fact that I have not one, but two Fantasy Football teams (I can't believe it either), I'm not a huge football fan.  Eric, on the other hand, is obsessed with football.  Whether you love football or care just enough to choose your Fantasy players based on how cute they are (in my defense, I only chose one of my players for that reason!), you can probably appreciate "football food."  (For the record, "football food" includes things like chili, buffalo wings, hot dogs, and hamburgers.  You know, shit that will make you gain 75 lbs in a weekend but you don't care because it's so good.)

2.  I'll devote another Tasty Tuesday post to a pumpkin recipe.  After all, it's fall and that means PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!

3.  I love coffee more than most things.  In order to feed my addiction enjoy the great flavors that are available during the fall, I'm going to make a point to purchase at least 5 different seasonal coffee drinks (pumpkin, apple, etc.) from various coffee shops around town and then share my thoughts on each one.  Don't worry ... I won't drink them all on the same day.  I may drink a lot of coffee, but I still think my heart would explode if I had 5 (or more) lattes in one day.  I know that may not be the most interesting/exciting blog post, but I'll enjoy doing the "research."  I also think anything that encourages me to post more often than once or twice a week is a plus (and a challenge!).

So there you have it ... My goals for this month's personal challenge link-up.  I really want to start making Divulge and Indulge a priority, and I think these goals will give me a little push to post more often.  I also have quite a few other ideas for future posts, so hopefully I'll be spending more time writing and sharing things on this blog in the upcoming months.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Monthly Personal Challenge Link-up: September Results

Not Entirely Perfect

The time has come to share the results of my September fitness challenge, and, if I'm being completely honest, I didn't stick with it the way I hoped I would.

To recap, my original goals were as follows:

1.  Continue going to my regular gym classes (which include yoga, BodyFlow, and BodyPump).  The plan was to attend at least 3 classes each week.

2.  Incorporate at least 1 day of cardio into my weekly routine.

3.  Start using MyFitnessPal again to keep track of my workouts and (if I had time to log it) what I was eating.

So how did I do?

1.  I went to 11 of my regular classes during the 30 days of September.  Since I usually have 3-4 classes each week, that means I went to 11 out of 17 that were offered (no classes were held on Labor Day).  I didn't think that sounded too bad until I did the math and realized I only attended 64.7% of my regular fitness classes.  That's not really that great.

2.  I started off really strong with my cardio goal, walking and/or jogging 3 times during the first week of the month.  And then ... I think I just sort of let this goal slide.  I literally only did cardio 1 additional time during the entire month.  I wish I'd tried harder to stick with this because I felt really amazing after each walk/jog.

3.  Despite the fact that I didn't achieve my other two goals, I was pretty diligent when it came to using MyFitnessPal.  This was actually really good for me since it made me realize I should make some changes to my diet (and the amount of food I eat) if I want to lose weight (and I do).  It also made me think a little more before eating snacks or drinking sugary coffee drinks since I actually had to see my available calories for the day take a nosedive.  (Let's be honest, though ... It made me think about my decision a little more, but 90% of the time I said, "Fuck it, I want this!" and ate or drank it anyway.  I have no self control.)

Overall, my results weren't completely awful ... I just feel like I could have done much better.

The theme for October's personal challenge is food.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do, but I have a couple of ideas.  I'll try to make a decision later this evening and share those goals in a quick post tomorrow.