Monthly Archives: December 2009

best films of the decade?

a good friend of mine asked us to list our top 40 (well, he said 30 – but i couldn’t do it) films of the decade.

so here are mine, in no particular order (except for #1&2):
1. mar adentro (the sea inside) – quite possibly my favorite film of the decade
2. the diving bell and the butterfly (a close second)
3. funny games (american version)
4. amores perros, 21 grams, babel (is it cheating since this is a trilogy?)
5. crouching tiger, hidden dragon
6. before night falls
7. tell no one
8. up
9. district 9
10. sexy beast
11. moulin rouge
12. ghost dog
13. star trek
14. punch drunk love
15. eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
16. revolutionary road
17. mystic river
18. lost in translation
19. memento
20. a history of violence
21. y tu mamá también
22. snatch
23. les triplettes de belleville
24. nueve reinas (nine queens)
25. man on wire
26. gladiator
27. no country for old men
28. caché
29. there will be blood
30. pan’s labryrinth
31. the hurt locker
32. capote
33. in the mood for love
34. fahrenheit 911
35. the wrestler
36. l’homme du train (man on the train)
37. brokeback mountain
38. the science of sleep
39. adaptation
40. departures (one of the most beautiful, poignant films i’ve seen)

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goodbye 2009…hello 2010!

this has been quite the year and quite the decade… through it all, i think we discovered that we all are connected – for better or worse – and that we must start paying attention to the consequences of how we live on others and our planet. and that we also must focus on what really matters:  good friends, family, good health and making time for each other. as we say goodbye to 2009, my hope is that we bring with us these simple lessons of  kindness and sharing into the new year.

my new year’s resolutions are to be more present in my life and in the lives of others. to stop looking back with regret, but to always remain introspective and reflective. to be generous and genuine in action and words. to buy american whenever possible. to eat healthful, local foods. to appreciate and create beauty. to take longer walks. to read more books.

and biggest of all for my boyfriend and me, january 2010 will bring the launch of modernest. it has been a journey, as any creative endeavor is – but also so fulfilling and so gratifying. i’ve learned a lot through the process…about courage and commitment and discipline. about believing in myself and working harder than i’ve ever worked before. and also about facebook and twitter and this blog – all these new ways of connecting with like-minded people. it’s been pretty amazing.

so wherever you are and whatever your dreams and goals, i wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!


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here comes 2010 and i haven’t a thing to wear!

…but then i saw this little black dress on a fantastic site called greenloop (thanks to treehugger and natural as possible mom for the info!). i’m torn between the adorable “edie” dress above and this angel-sleeved number. both affordable (less than $80) and sustainable.

in fact, everything on greenloop is all you would want your clothing to be:  sustainable, sweatshop free and consciously made!

from their website:

All brands carried by Greenloop employ a variety of responsible practices, including: using eco-friendly, sustainable materials; employing energy efficient and low-impact production; investing in renewable energy and carbon offsets; and maximizing recycling and waste reduction. In addition to these practices, these companies engage in fair trade, support organic agriculture, engage in sweat-shop free production, protect human rights, and donate to various environmental non-profit groups through in-kind and financial gifts.

woman-owned and based in portland, their business philosophy is right in line with modernest: live deliberately. shop accordingly.

i am bookmarking them for all my future fashion needs!

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meatless monday recipe: grilled cheese & roasted tomato soup…

well, the holidays finally caught up with me. i don’t know if it was too much excitement, too many games with the kids or too much eggnog…but i am sick. and so all my sensory memories turn to a bowl of lovely tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. but i don’t have the energy to drag my weak, tired body to the market. so, i found this recipe from michael chiarello that i think i can adapt to satisfy my craving…and while i’m posting it for an idea for your meatless monday tomorrow, i will be preparing it tonight…

the brilliant part of this recipe is that he roasts the canned chopped tomatoes in the oven. of course, instead of chicken stock, i will use veggie stock. i have all the other ingredients and will definitely omit the cream and will eyeball the olive oil (it seems like a lot since he calls for butter). i think will serve it with a oven-toasted baguette topped with gruyère, diced garlic and olive oil.

all i need is the baguette and a simple, satisfying sunday supper will be served!

this message was brought to you by the letter S.


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merry christmas!

this season has been one of genuine sharing, appreciation and reflection. of truly realizing that it is more about spending time, not money. of baking and eating and laughing and toasting. so, as 2009 winds down to its end, i thought i would turn to one of my favorite writers to remind us all of the meaning of christmas…

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Dr. Seuss

here’s hoping christmas for all of us means a little bit more!

happy holidays to you, your family and friends.

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in celebration of vegetables…

this article in today’s section of the l.a. times literally made me smile. in it, russ parsons talks about the sad little vegetable, outshined each year, at holiday tables by the roast or ham or whatever form of meat entrée that may be the star of your get together. and so,  in this season of practicality and – for the first time in a long time, a true appreciation of sharing – we should take another look at our friend, the vegetable side dish.

just as so many of us are making gifts and appreciating the small, quiet gestures of the holidays this year, so too can a beautiful vegetarian dish make our hearts (and tummies) swell. but for mr. parsons, it goes deeper than that:

And let’s face it, there’s no part of the Christmas dinner that is more overlooked than the vegetable. We have an uneasy relationship with them to begin with. There is always a taint of obligation when it comes to vegetables. No matter how delicious they may be, that pleasure is always somewhat undercut by the knowledge that they’re also good for us. It’s like getting slippers for Christmas, or a vacuum cleaner.

Well, maybe it’s time we grew up a little, huh? In the first place, I asked for slippers this year, and my daughter asked for a vacuum cleaner. So let’s not make any jokes. Practical gifts that give small pleasures throughout the year are not to be overlooked.

his recipe for a cauliflower and potato gratin is the one that got my attention. made from simple ingredients and easy to prepare, this will become a supper staple in our house – not just for the holidays, but throughout the upcoming year. the words of mr. parsons reminded me of the true spirit of the holidays – it truly is about the people around the table this year, more than ever – so here’s to veggie dishes, potlucks and slippers!

season’s gratins!

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a new year, a new journal…

about a million years ago, i did the artist’s way and the one thing i have had been committed to ever since then is writing in my journal. despite all the technologies of today – this blog, modernest’s facebook and twitter pages;  my iphone, my macbook – i am still a pen and paper girl at heart. i have my super cool jonathan adler mini-notebook that i carry with me always and i have my lovely journals that i write in daily. there is something about the sound of the pen moving across the white page that helps me to process and record whatever is going on in my life.

i have a ritual each december, when i reread all my past entries. it gives me a lot of insight, helps me to break old patterns and relive especially lovely moments and memories of the year that was.

i’m always on the lookout for beautiful, unlined journals, so i was especially excited to have read this ecofabulous post on  ecosystem journals – not only made in america from 100% post-consumer recycled paper, but they have calculated the carbon footprint of their brightly colored products and you can actually track the materials used to create your journal with an identification number. they also guide you through the recycling process, but i won’t need that since i keep all my past journals in vintage suitcases – my life written and recorded.

available at barnes and noble…i think i might still have a gift card with a balance on it – happy new year to me!

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