Friday, July 29, 2011

A Burton-inspired Fashion Friday!

One of the hottest tickets in Los Angeles right now is the Tim Burton exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. When our friend Rena was visiting, she was very kind to gift us with those hot tickets, so we could join her at the museum.  And, being Burton fans, we dressed for the occasion!

The lovely Rena is wearing a poppy-covered sundress via Dress Barn,
plus a vintage beaded bag, and strappy sandals by Life Stride.

I am wearing a secretary swing dress and striped cardigan by Torrid, a flower headband by
Etsy artists Lou and Lee, raven-tree locket via Halloweentown, and purse by Kate Spade.


To show the detail of our outfits, I had to crop out the fun Burton art... but you should see that, too!

The coolest floppy-blowing-machines ever.  Is there a name for those floppy-blowing-machines?

Tom looked dapper for the occasion, too.

Rena snuck a shot of me admiring a topiary from Edward Scissorhands, which Burton created himself.


Alas, cameras were not allowed in the museum itself, so we didn't take our own shots inside.  Instead, I'll share with you a few of the pieces from the exhibit, plus some beautiful photographs of the exhibit, taken by Zilla Magazine - and there are more where that came from if you follow the link.

It's interesting to see his repeating themes, lines, and colors.
Painting by Burton.

I was particularly fascinated by his hand-drawn sketches,
which are shaded, hatched, texturized so uniquely.
Pen illustration for Vincent, by Burton.

It was amazing to see concept art translated into the actual costumes and props.
Concept art for Edward Scissorhands, by Burton.

Rena and I must've stared at Collen Atwood's Scissorhands costume (at the back above) for ten minutes.
Photo by Zilla Magazine.

Even the entryway to the exhibit was fanciful, and totally Burtonesque.
Photo by Zilla Magazine.

There was black-light section, which featured a neon carousel Burton designed and built recently.
I happened to notice it was based on an idea he'd illustrated many years before, also part of the collection.

If you're anywhere near Los Angeles - and a fan of Burton, of art, of an artist's developing style... of film, of creativity, of strong perspectives and uniqueness of line, and style and color and... yeah.  Yeah.  You should go.

And when you do, you should rock your own Burton-inspired outfit.  What would you wear to LACMA for the occasion?

OK, I'm out for the weekend.  I hope all of you have fun plans... and that those fun plans include taking good care of yourselves.  Until Monday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's deflated-balloon Thursday, apparently.

I had a beautiful and exciting day yesterday, full of adventure (for an upcoming Adventure Wednesday post.)  It was one of those days that was so exhilarating that it felt almost like a vacation. 

Today I'm left feeling like the vacation's over.  I didn't even take a vacation, and yet my heart feels like a deflated balloon.

Photo via Dreamstime

As you can probably tell from my blog, we take a lot of adventures.  What perhaps isn't as clear (or perhaps it is) is that most of those adventures are free or very inexpensive.  We're on a tight budget right now, and today I woke up with money on my mind.

I rarely talk shop here at Finishing the Hat, but I'm a freelancer.  And I don't know if you know this... but freelancing is hard.  On top of all of the work-gathering and work-doing, I manage my own hours, so I have to be my own boss.  I have to turn down happy phone calls from friends, I have to shut off all interactive forms of communication (no instant messages for me) and I have to nix time spent online.  And I don't get to blame any of those things on a boss.  It's me, and if I don't do this, I don't make a living.  And I need to make a living.

That end-of-vacation feeling has to do with the kind of work I'm doing today.  I'm trying to line up some more writing gigs.  I love writing, but lining up writing gigs... well, it's not my favorite.  I can sell anything but myself, I guess.  Plus, we're doing our budget update, which always feels like impacted tooth extraction.  I dislike thinking about money, and I'd be happy if I never had to consider it again.  I don't need all kinds of material things, or wealth, or fame.  I just want to be comfortable, you know?  To be able to pay bills and cover our needs.  And in order to be comfortable... I have to budget.  And line up gigs.  So off I go.  (Anybody know anybody who needs a great writer?)

The other important thing for me to focus on today is emotion and energy.  I need to avoid translating the emotion I'm feeling into emotional eating, and I must make sure I translate this anxiety-energy into exercise-energy.  At the core of all of this, I have to take care of me.  How about you?  How do you handle your stress?  How do you keep your emotion and energy flowing in ways that help you to take care of you?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Glee-ful Adventure Wednesday

OK.  I'll admit it.  I'm the kind of person who likes musical theater.

And musical TV.  And singing.  And sing-alongs.  Yep, that's me.  In fact, I used to sing a lot more often, in plays, in choirs, in cars...  It's not a particular gift of mine, but it's something I really enjoy doing.  There's just something about lifting your voice that lifts your spirits.

So when I found out about The Music Center's free Friday Night Sing-Alongs, I was in.  And when they announced a Glee Sing-Along, I was all in.

Tom and I have watched Glee together since the beginning.  As former musical theater performers (and current musical theater nerds) we hoped it would be as fun as our own drama club experiences.  And auto-tune aside, it is.  It may be the T.V. equivalent of eating Planter's Cheese Balls, but there's no denying that it's infectious.  (Plus, we have a Glee spec script in the works for our writing portfolio... so we have to watch it.  We tune in because it's a professional thing, and not because we're waiting to hear the next strange thing to tumble out of Brittany S. Pierce's mouth.  Like, "did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?"  Riiight.  Professional.  That's what we keep telling ourselves.)

The Sing-Alongs are sponsored by Active Arts, the Music Center organization which encourages Angelenos to express themselves creatively.  (They also sponsor, among other things, Dance Downtown.  You may recall from previous Adventure Wednesdays that we've attended the Cumbia and Bollywood nights.)  Each sing-along takes place at the Keck Amphitheatre at Walt Disney Music Hall.

Have you seen (or been to) Disney Hall yet?  It's a gorgeous space designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, and it has really spiced up the look of downtown LA since it opened in 2003.  In fact, I had just moved to LA when it was being finished, and on my commute home from a job downtown, I happened to see it the first day the shiny facade was up.  It was before they dampened the patina, so I felt nearly blinded by the reflection of the sun!  Fortunately, it's not so shiny and blinding anymore... but it IS damn beautiful.

Photo by Carol McKinney Highsmith

It's incredibly beautiful inside, too - but that's for another adventure.  For the Glee Sing-Along, we were outside, in the Keck Amphitheater.  Before that night, I didn't even know it existed!  You certainly can't see it from below.  But if you were flying over the building, you'd see it's tucked into the roof on the side.

See it there? The little circular amphitheater?
Photo is not by me, but I could not find a credit.

So we headed downtown, parked at the Music Center, and then climbed the several flights of stairs leading to the amphitheatre.  (Thank goodness I've been exercising... that's the kind of thing I wouldn't have been able to do a year ago!  Hurrah for non-scale victories.)  It was a lovely, breezy space... and filled with fellow nerds ready to get their Gleek on.

The amphitheatre was pretty full!  Singers are holding their lyric sheets, which were distributed before the music started.

The event is designed for non-professionals to sing to their out-of-tune hearts' content, so it didn't matter if people messed up, or didn't sound perfect.  It was just a bunch of like-minded folks, coming together in song. 

Singers were accompanied by a live band with a songleader - they were terrific.


We joined in for tunes like "Defying Gravity," "Jesse's Girl," and "Firework" - and it was a total blast. Most fun for me, I think, was hearing Tom sing.  He does it so rarely!

Tom, waiting for the boys' part to come up.

There's one sing-along left for the summer, so if you're local and like to belt out swanky songs, you should think about going to the Rat Pack Night, on August 19.  Sammy, Frank, Dean... how can you go wrong?  All you need to do is line up at the amphitheater in advance (we got there about 45 minutes before the Glee sing-along, and that worked out perfectly.)  They'll give you your free ticket and lyrics, and it's up to you, ladies and tramps, to do it your way.

After the Glee sing-along, we stopped by an Echo Park vegan restaurant called Sage  - which we'd heard serves jackfruit.  And since we've been on a jackfruit kick lately, we thought we'd try it out.

I had jackfruit tacos, with purple cabbage slaw and black beans.

Tom had barbecue jackfruit, with kale and potato chips.  I have to say... I thought ours was better.


One particularly nice thing about the restaurant is that they also make their own vegan ice cream, called Kind Kreme.

I tried the carrot-coconut-ginger... very flavorful.


Since Tom can't have much dairy, he'd never been able to try a date shake in Palm Springs, but Kind Kreme offered their vegan version of a date shake!  No pictures of that, alas... it was gone before I had a chance to snap a picture.   

Outings like this... all of our Adventure Wednesdays, really... remind us that there is so much out there, that is wonderful and fun.  That we have absolutely no excuses to be bored.  And since boredom can sometimes lead to bored-eating, it's important that we keep ourselves engaged in our lives.  How are you keeping yourselves entertained?  What new things are you trying?  Because, really, trying new things is just another great way to take care of yourself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Weigh-in Tuesday, with updates galore!

It's Weigh-in Tuesday, so I hopped on the scale this morning to find myself down another four pounds!  I think my body must be quite happy about being able to move more.  (I know my mind is, too.)



That brings my total to 64 pounds lost since January... and just a few pounds until I'm under 300.  I'm almost there, you guys!  Though, of course, I have another 130 to reach medically "normal" weight... and if you've been following along, you know that because of my history of disordered eating and food addiction, there really is no such thing as "almost there" on this journey.  I'm committed to doing this for life.

Luckily, doing this for life (so far) has been surprisingly fun.  The more I write about it here, the more it becomes clearer that I want this blog to be a celebration of this process.  So yesterday I updated a lot of my information pages on the site, to share a little more about myself, and to clarify what Finishing the Hat (the phrase, and the blog) really means to me.  If you haven't seen them yet, you can visit About Heidi and Frequently Asked Questions, as well as my Progress Photo page for a couple of new photos.

On another note - I want to thank each of you who reached out to me yesterday, in response to my post about my mother.  It meant so much to me, knowing that you were all out there, supporting me.  It was such a difficult post to write, and I am certain it wasn't easy to read, either.  So thank you, so much, for being a part of my journey.  Please know that each day is made easier because you are all here.

Okay!  I'll be back tomorrow with a little Glee-ful adventure... and until then... you know the drill.  Take care of you!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday, sans unicorns and rainbows

It's a brand new day.  It's a brand new week.  And I'm still here.

It was a bit of a frenetic weekend.  Lots of cooking and prep for SC600 - which I managed not to photograph even once.  That works out OK, though, because we'll be doing a second SC600: BBQ Edition soon, and I'm really looking forward to it.  Sunday brought major exhaustion - including a brief nap that accidentally turned into a three-hour-nap.  It also brought with it some major food addiction struggles.  I was feeling emotional, and experiencing 2 or 3 out of the 4 "HALT" conditions that can lead to relapse.  I fought food cravings all day, and managed to avoid indulging by talking through my emotions, resting, and seeking out healthy food.  (Even when hungry while out late, I managed to order a turkey burger instead of something much worse.)  I did, however, eat a brownie.  I ate it mindfully, just the single-serving I bought.  I felt sated and no longer felt the need to cram every kind of everything down my gullet.  As I said to Tom earlier in the day - that craving had nothing to do with food.  It had to do with wanting not to feel emotion.

But I'm still here.  And do you know why?  The answer also happens to be the answer for today's Friend Makin' Monday question.

Was there a defining moment in which you realized that you needed to lose weight? 

Yes.  There was.  And it isn't pretty, so if you're looking for rainbows and unicorns, maybe it's best you move along to

My defining moment was actually a defining month. May, 2009.  It was the month my mother died.

Mom suffered from an auto-immune disease called ITP - which is a complicated condition, but boils down to her immune system consuming her blood cells, which made her bleed internally unless she took steroids.  Which she did for the duration of the disease.  Which lasted for twelve years before she passed away.  Most people gain weight from a couple of days on steroids.  Can you imagine taking them for twelve years?  Unfortunately, I can, because I saw it happen.  Along with the fatigue from the disease, it caused a vibrant, warm, spitfire of a woman to disappear before my eyes.

Before all of this went down, Mom had issues with behavioral eating (which I've discussed earlier and elsewhere) - and was already morbidly obese. But everything was compounded by the steriods, not to mention being exhausted and having her joints slowly destroyed. Which led to weight gain. Which led to more exhaustion, worse joints, more weight gain, more exhaustion, worse joints, more weight gain.  An infinite cycle of it.

There were years of slowly slipping mobility.  Of my dad doing all of the housework and caring for her 24/7. There were walkers, wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, vans with elevators, chairs with mechanisms to lift her out.  And after her fall at the end of April 2009, in the retirement home where she was so miserable, there was even a mechanical sling that lifted her from the bed to the toilet on wheels.  She couldn't move herself at all anymore.  This is when I left Los Angeles to spend what I thought would be a week in my hometown, cheering her up.

But within five days at the retirement home, she'd contracted a blood infection from the pressure sores.  Her weight pushed so hard against the surface of the bed that it wounded her.  And because of her diabetes, healing would be impossible.  She spent the rest of that month in the hospital, and I stayed for all of it.

Soon there was an around-the-clock air pressure mask, for lungs weighted down so that not enough oxygen got to them.  Significant mental confusion followed, including an extended period of hallucination that my father and I were working with the mob to have her killed. (Which sounds funny now, but was heartbreaking then.)  And eventually, there was the discovery of her congestive heart failure.  There were a few precious days of lucidity as we all said our goodbyes.  And then there was coma.

And then, there's the day I don't talk about much, or think about much, for that matter.  The morning she woke up from the coma.  They were flipping her over to try to clean her rotting wounds, when she woke up screaming from the pain.  She didn't stop, or fall asleep again, until they administered the dose of morphine that allowed her to relax long enough to die that afternoon.  And we were all there with her, horrified, watching her suffer, and then watching her slip away.

I do my best to remember my mother as she was before all of this. A force of life to be reckoned with.  Quickest with a joke - with the least appropriate joke for the occasion, in fact.  Passionate about family, about celebrating, about understanding and communicating with her loved ones.  And those memories make me happy.

But the memory of her dying?  I have to return to it now and again.  It keeps me on my weight loss journey.  Because although it was an auto-immune disease that compounded her health, it was her weight that made that disease so much more difficult to bear.  Someday, somehow, I will die, too.  And when I do, I do not want my weight to make that experience worse than it needs to be.


Thank you for being here with me today, everyone.  This isn't an easy story to share.  I work so hard to make my journey to better health one that is filled with joy.  I firmly believe that one can find so much to love and live for while one is losing weight, even within that very process.  And I promise that I will continue to share my discoveries about the joy of healthy living here, day by day.  But some days, I have to remember what set me on this path.  I just wish my Mom didn't have to die for it to happen.

Please.   Please take care of you.  And tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Not-So-Ugly Duckling Fashion

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not so much a shoe-girl.

Don't get me wrong - I like it when I can find good-looking, comfortable shoes that compliment my outfits.  But I have extraordinarily wide feet, and that means my options are incredibly limited.  My weight (I assume, because I've never been thin) has also meant that heels aren't comfortable for me.

As a result, I have never, ever in my life built an outfit around a pair of shoes.  And I've never really wanted to.

That is, until I first saw Kobi Levi's imaginative creations.  Have you seen his shoes?  He's an Israeli designer who has elevated shoe design to a unique new level of artistry.  Here are some examples of his work.

Chewing Gum



Olive Oyl


Blonde Ambition


Isn't he a riot?  He made me look at shoes in ways I've never looked at shoes before.  So I thought I'd do the unthinkable... and theme an outfit around shoes.  His shoes.  His swan shoes, specifically, from his bird series.

Incidentally... I'd like to dedicate this outfit to Tom, Lisa, Chris, and Erik, for being my partners in swandom.

Shoes - which we can't buy - by Kobe Levi
Overlapping necklace via
Bakelite bracelet, vintage, alas not for sale
Bakelite earrings, available from Vanilla Wafer Brown
Orange bag from a previous Kate Spade season
Dress by Sealed With a Kiss

Since I've been asked about accessories recently, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on putting this outfit together.
  • The shoes, which are white, black and orange, are the focal point... but I wanted to bring attention to them by adding a few pops of orange, in the bracelet/earrings and bag.  
  • I love a touch of vintage flair so I went with two pieces made of Bakelite, my favorite collectible retro plastic.  
  • Because the orange is so vivid, and the shoes so unusual, I wanted the other elements to be streamlined and modern... put-together, but not stealing focus.  
  • The necklace is simple but a touch unusual - it doesn't compete with the bakelite, yet compliments it (and works well with the neckline of the dress.)  
  • I'm a big fan of black-dress-as-canvas: your pop of color will stand out that much more vividly on a simple black template.  Consider the purple and yellow of my outfit at Eat Real Fest last weekend:

Pardon the re-use of the photo!
Scarf by H&M
Belt by Curvy Girl Clothing
Headband & dress by Target


Can I just say... YAY FOR HAIRCUTS. I'm way overdue and I'm heading into my favorite salon ever, Fandango in Silverlake, for a cut today. So hopefully my new 60-pound-milestone progress photo (and shots from this weekend) will have me looking WAY less shaggy.

All right!  That's the week, folks. I hope you enjoy this beautiful weekend - and if you're local and don't have plans, there's still time to squeak into our Supper Club 600 on Saturday - just give me a heads-up.  I'll be back Monday to keep bringing the fun into this journey toward good health.  And you... keep taking care of you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In the Kitchen with Tom: Ginger Noodle Stir-Fry

Today I have a healthy - and filling - recipe for you.  But before I get to that, some news!

I had my surgery follow-up, and all of the biopsies came back clear.  I was very happy to hear it, so I hopped over to Facebook, where I posted that the biopsies from my surgery were back, and I was "footloose and cancer-free." What I didn't realize was that many people interpret the phrase "cancer-free" as meaning "no longer have cancer."  So just to be clear about it here - I do not have (and have never had) cancer - my surgery was to help correct my troublesome reproductive system.  I do, however, have many loved ones who have faced and beaten cancer, and I'm always awed by their strength. May we all have that kind of strength in the face of illness.

Anyway, to celebrate my bill of health... I get to swim again! Fully recovered from surgery, and able to swim to my heart's content.  It's very timely, seeing as our upcoming Supper Club 600 is taking place poolside.

I'm feeling great, and that's probably a result from the recovery, as well as the exercise I've been able to do in the last week, and the good food I've been eating.  What good food have I been eating?  Well, let me show you an example!

I think most of you know what an excellent cook my husband is.  I think he's been my secret weapon in my weight loss journey, because he's always finding new ways of throwing food together that is both healthy and tasty.  Today's recipe - Ginger Noodle Stir-Fry - is one that Tom has developed over time, inspired by dinners his mom made when he was younger.  This dish is very warming, very filling, and excellent when enjoyed a few hours before a workout.  I try not to think of food as "comforting" these days, but there's no way around it: this is excellent healthy comfort food.

The recipe's two most important ingredients are right in its name.

Ginger root is such a warm, flavorful ingredient.  Growing up, we always had powdered ginger, but I'd never seen the root before Tom introduced me to it.  If you haven't used it fresh, you're in for a treat.  You can find it in most grocery stores, and though it looks odd and bulbous, don't be afraid of it - it tastes much better than powdered ginger.  You can chop off a piece from the root, peel it, and dice it - and throw it in as if it were garlic.  (In fact, we throw it in with garlic for this recipe.)

The noodles in question are a Japanese variety called soba.  They are made from buckwheat, which is not actually a grain - it's a fruit seed!  Buckwheat can actually be enjoyed by people who are unable to process gluten.  Soba does contain carbohydrates from the starch, but it also has a large amount of soluble fiber, plus it's a source of magnesium, B1 and B2.  It's a great swap for heavier pasta in a stir fry like this.

I believe I missed listing onion in this graphic, but it's there tucked in by the pepper and garlic.

Chop the pepper and onion, then saute in a Pam-sprayed pan for about 6 minutes, or until softened.


Then peel about an inch of ginger root, and dice into fine pieces, along with the garlic. 
Add both to the pepper/onion pan, and cook for about two minutes.


Next, chop the mushrooms, and cook with the pepper/onion pan for about 5 minutes, until they begin to release liquid.


Now, chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, and then add to the pan with everything else. 
Add a tablespoon of light soy sauce, plus a dash of chili oiland sesame oil,
and cook for another 10 minutes, until it is tender.


As you soften the cauliflower, bring a pot of water to a boil. Then add the soba noodles and boil for about 3 minutes.


Drain the noodles, and add them to the pan. Toss briefly, and then transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!

Because this dish includes a whole head of cauliflower, you can eat a nice-sized serving and still stay moderate in calories.  I usually eat a serving of protein and a piece of fruit to fill out the meal.

I usually eat about 2 cups, so my serving is around 230 calories or so.

What is your favorite Asian dish?  Tom and I would love to try our hand at replicating it for you, so let us know!  And, as always - take care of you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On Adventure Wednesday... who ya gonna call? Plus a recipe to haunt you.

Have you heard about Hollywood Forever? It's a cemetery in our neighborhood, where stone monuments commemorate those who've passed.

Some famous....

Photo via Mental Floss


Photo via Bridge and Tunnel Club

Some, not so much.

Photo via L.A. Kompany

Where peacocks roam free during the day.

Photo via Danica Waters

And where, on Saturday nights, you'll find hordes of Angelenos bearing picnic boxes on their way to the mausoleum to watch a movie.

Photo via Cinespia

Hold the phone - hang out in a cemetery? After dark? You betcha.

The Cinespia organization hosts films at Hollywood Forever each summer weekend.  What began as a way to help fund the restoration of a broken-down cemetery has become a Los Angeles institution.  People from all over the city gather to dine al fresco, and snuggle in with a blanket to watch the film projected on the mausoleum wall after dark.  It doesn't have a creepy vibe (well, maybe a little after dark) - graves are respected and the audience sits in a wide open field nowhere anyone's burial plot. When I'm there, I actually feel a sense of community, peace and relaxation.  Especially at dusk - swaying palm trees, gentle breezes and the calm dimming of natural light.

When they announced a screening of Ghostbusters, my gang of cinema nerds gathered together for the occasion.

And what's a nerd-outing without themed food?  I came up with a recipe for mini tarts, to which I would add a little neon food color.  I called them... ectoplasm tarts.

They're just the color of Slimer!

But you can call them Key Lime.  They're not the world's healthiest, but one serving is perfectly good in moderation: this batch is for sharing. Just don't let them haunt you, or you'll rack up calories like Venkman racks up bad pick-up lines.

Key Lime "Ectoplasm" Tarts
24 Nilla Wafers
5 egg yolks
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (best if fresh)
2 drops of neon yellow food color gel (optional)
1 drop of green food color gel (optional)

Line a mini-muffin tin with disposable liners, and lay a Nilla Wafer in each.  You'll need to "crunch" the wafer down to make it fit the tins, but if you push down on the center with a finger, it will maintain most of its shape.  Even if not, it'll work OK as the crust.

Mix together the yolks, milk, and lime juice until fully combined.  Add the food color (if desired) and pour over the Nilla Wafers.

 Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool and then chill in the fridge before eating.

You can see both poured (pre-baked) and Nilla crust in this photo.

Serving size is 1 tart - and the batch makes 24.

 Cinespia's screenings had gotten pretty crazy in the past, with lines for blocks, in which you had to wait for hours with no guarantee of getting in until you made it up to the gate.  Fortunately, this summer they're trying pre-sale tickets and guaranteed on-site parking.  And this made all of the difference for us.  We'd given up on getting in after a disastrous attempt last year, but knowing that no matter how long we had to wait in the parking line, that we'd all be guaranteed admission... it was so much better that I think we'll be going back again this year!

It was our first picnic since our weight loss journey began, so we brought a great healthy picnic with us.

Tom enjoys his eggplant salad pita.

Our contribution to the shared spread included the finished tarts,
plus curried chickpeas, a light veggie-orzo salad, and crunchy veg with hummus.
Here's to Rena for bringing her collapsible picnic table!

A shot of the mausoleum, where the film is projected.
Photo courtesy of our friend Erik

As the sun goes down, everyone settles in for the movie.
Photo courtesy of our friend Erik

And... showtime!

Photo courtesy of our friend Brendan

I highly recommend a trip to a Cinespia film if you're in the Los Angeles area (or if you're visiting!)  The films are announced about a week or two in advance, and pre-sale tickets and parking (which I HIGHLY recommend) can be purchased for $10 about 5 days in advance, through the Cinespia website.

And if you aren't in the area... there are a ton of summer outdoor movies.  Be sure to check out your area listings, and give it a try!  There's nothing quite like gathering with friends to share a beloved movie - or one you haven't seen before - in an unusual location.

I'll be back tomorrow with another recipe for you to try, and until then, take care of you!