According to the accounting firm of Ernst and Young, no one knows who will win Oscar gold until the envelope is opened. Technically, that would make every winner a surprise. Yet the morning after, there are plenty of snarky critics who either will say, “There were no surprises on Oscar night” or “There were big upsets.” Then there are the naysayers who say that so-and-so won their award because of their career, and not the part they played. It’s all Monday morning quarterbacking. Those who win did so because they got the most votes from Academy members. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Academy members always get things right. In fact, there have been many Oscar snubs over the years which perhaps left you scratching your head asking, “Really, Academy? Really?” You might want to bring a few of these up at your Oscar party to spark some lively conversation.
If you follow this blog, then you were aptly prepared to be the smartest one in the room during your Super Bowl party. We loaded you up with all kinds of factoids to impress the gathering. For those folks who didn’t inherit the football gene and are more artistically inclined, the Oscars are like their Super Bowl. Okay, we’re talking about me. In fact, I always call the Oscars my Super Bowl. Like that big game there is plenty of hype leading up to the big event. Who will win what? Who will wear who? Will Snow White be in the opening number? On “game day” all eyes will be on the red carpet (as opposed to the commercials). Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to throw a party. Once you’ve worked out your Oscar Party Poll Picks, you’ll want to dazzle your fellow partygoers with amazing tidbits. Here is all the Oscar Party trivia you’ll ever need:
This year, the Academy Awards has 86 candles on its birthday cake. It was 1927 when the first golden statues for excellence in cinema were handed out. Back then, the ceremony took place at a hotel ballroom and lasted under 15 minutes. Today, we can count on a three-hour telecast, full of moments that will no doubt be the topic of many conversations the next day. On some level, you can think of the Oscars as the “grandfather of awards.” They preceded Broadway’s Tony Awards by about 20 years, and the Emmys by about 21 years. There are also the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Obies, and the Golden Raspberry Awards. Yet the Academy Awards is what everyone counts as most prestigious. Why not get into the spirit of the Oscars with our own awards? May we present the first annual iPollies, awarded to excellence in online surveys and Mobile Missions!
One of the first official “food trucks” was developed in 1866. Technically, this was before the invention of the actual truck. However, on long cattle drives cowboys needed to eat. An enterprising cattle baron by the name of Charles Goodnight converted an old US Army wagon by adding shelves and drawers. He then stocked the wagon with pots, pans, spices, and grub. Thus was born the chuck wagon. While the cowboys were herding in the West, back East the industrial revolution was getting under way. Night shift workers would often take advantage of the night lunch wagons. The “roach coaches” have definitely evolved over the years, and today we are living in the midst of a full-blown food truck revolution. No matter where you live, there is likely a food truck standing by to offer up some great items. Here are some of the best examples of food trucks doing their thing all across the country:
One of my favorite times of day is lunchtime. It’s that bridge between a dreary morning (blah) and the end of the work day (woo-hoo!). I try to make myself take at least an hour for lunch, which usually includes an amazing sandwich and an episode of The People’s Court. If I venture out, then I make it a habit to try at least one new bistro/pub/cafe a month. Sadly, the “lunch hour” appears to be dwindling for many people. Too many workers are opting for working right through lunch. Not on my watch.
While lunch is typically the time to “grab and go,” dinner allows us to take the time to indulge. However, unless you follow that “new restaurant a month” rule, you could quickly find yourself in a culinary rut. No matter what town you call home, there are some truly original restaurant experiences waiting for you. All you have to do is make a reservation. Here are some unique restaurants to put on your must-try list.
Do you consider yourself a culinary Indiana Jones of sorts? Will you go anywhere to try something exotic? When dining at your favorite restaurant, do you ever veer away from your “go-to” meal to sample a new dish? When was the last time you ate something really different? There is a vast array of culinary adventures to embark on. All you need to bring is your palate and a willingness to try the “un-tasted.” What’s the worst that can happen? Sure you may taste something you don’t like. Treat those indents like the Christmas Fruitcake Scenario: you’ll get over it. To help aid you in your quest for new cuisine, we proudly present a foodie bucket list. Some of these items are site specific. Others require you to step out of your comfort zone and into a world of epicurean delights. (Sidebar: Apologies in advance if it seems like this is a cheese-centric list. That’s just how I roll). Get your appetites ready:
Don’t you hate that feeling that you may be missing out on something? I’m that way with Sriracha. This is a hot sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It seems pretty basic, but apparently it is driving folks cuckoo. A recent rumored shortage of the sauce caused folks to clear this condiment from grocery shelves in record time. A factory making the rooster sauce in Los Angeles is causing upheaval among the neighbors, with complaints about nosebleeds and sore throats caused by the factory’s fumes. All this ruckus from a hot sauce? Don’t get me wrong– when it comes to hot sauce, I’m a big fan but I don’t think I would lose my mind over the stuff. Then again, I haven’t tried it yet. (Note to self: Try Sriracha the next time you see it at a restaurant.)
This brings up the issue of spices in general. Since this is foodie week, it is only appropriate that we talk about the spice of life…as in the spices we cook with. Or more accurately, the spices we may be missing out on. Have you added any of these to your culinary creations?
If there is one thing this past Valentine’s Day taught me, it’s that I’m a pretty decent chef. Yes, I tied on an apron to fix a meal for my sweetie. This might not seem like a big deal for most people, but trust me… it was a huge deal for me. Even though I watch a lot of cooking shows, I’ve haven’t quite mastered a lot of culinary skills quite yet. However, thanks to the Food Network website (and taking some of my own advice about date night); I managed to cobble together a fairly decent chicken parmigiana. Of course, I left the dessert to the professionals at Cheesecake Factory. What this experience unlocked for me is a desire for more. Not just more cheesecake, but more culinary skills. Where could one get help in this quest, I pondered. And then it hit me: why, iPoll, of course.
By the time you read this post, there will be many newly engaged couples out there. Valentine’s Day is a popular day for marriage proposals. Last year, it was estimated that 6 million couples got engaged on Valentine’s Day, up from 4 million in 2012. Ninety-eight percent of marriage proposals come from men. How many potential grooms will drop to one knee this year? Just because it is Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to feel compelled to get engaged. Instead, take your time to work out how it’s going to go down. Creativity can make this momentous occasion even more memorable. Let’s explore some fun ways to pop the question.
Oftentimes you can track the course of a relationship by examining how a couple spends Valentine’s Day. Early on, they will pull out all the stops for a romantic date to end all dates. Sometimes the person doing the plan is attempting to wipe out the memories of the ghosts of Valentine’s Day past, and solidify their status as the one and only. Once the couple has decided they are indeed a couple, Valentine’s Day can often settle into a routine of nice dinners, flowers, and a little gift. When kids come along, everything goes out the window. If the couple can carve out a few hours for a Blu-Ray and take-out, then they’ve hit the jackpot.
We can’t do much about the take-out, but we can certainly offer some great suggestions for romantic movies to watch on Valentine’s Day. An early disclaimer: Absolutely no Nicholas Sparks! Sure, any flicks based on his books might leave you teary-eyed from the romance, but it could also drive every man from the room. Instead, consider these other options that both couples are sure to enjoy. Get the popcorn ready: