totally top 10: friends thanksgivings

10. Season 2, “The One with the List” – The least appealing part of Friends for me, both upon initial airing and in the years of subsequent reruns, is the back and forth Ross and Rachel nonsense. It’s not that the romances on the show aren’t interesting — I love Monica and Chandler’s fumbling courtship because I’m not dead inside — it’s just that the friendships are so much more compelling. Ross and Rachel date, they don’t date, either way I don’t really care. Even if that wasn’t the emphasis of this ep, it’d still fall to the bottom of the list for not really being about Thanksgiving at all. If it weren’t for Monica’s mockolate scenes with Michael McKean the ep would hardly be worth watching at all.

9. Season 9, “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” – You know how sitcoms love to introduce really irritating characters and then rally the comedic forces of their casts around pointing out just how annoying that character is? I hate that. Christina Applegate is great at what she was brought into do, but it just feels unbearable and uninspired. Great tender moments of friendship, a lot of great Chandler emotions, and the entire China plot make it very watchable despite its flaws.

8. Season 1, “The One Where Underdog Gets Away” – The one that started it all! The most impressive thing about this episode is that it was the ninth episode of Friends ever and the characters already feel fleshed and whole. Love Joey’s STD posters, Chandler’s Thanksgiving issues, and Phoebe’s general willowiness.

7. Season 3, “The One with the Football” – Monica and Ross’s sibling rivalry is an early delight and, as always, weird Geller traditions are a highlight. Phoebe’s enthusiasm is maybe my favorite part of the entire episode and Joey and Chandler’s competitiveness verges on just the right kind of meanness without being unbearable. A solid and very Thanksgiving-y entry.

6. Season 8, “The One with the Rumor” – Problematic gender, trans*, and fat hate issues aside, this one’s got a nice turn from Brad Pitt and some decently funny moments. Ross’s tender remembrance of the tryst he had with his high school librarian is particularly charming and well-played.

5. Season 6, “The One Where Ross Got High” – Mr. and Mrs. Geller make an appearance in one of the strongest and most laugh out loud of the bunch. Notable not just for Rachel’s beef and pea trifle, but also Monica and Ross selling each other’s secrets out to their parents in a shouting match followed by Christina Pickles’s pitch-perfect delivery of the ultimate mom monologue. Glorious.

4. Season 7, “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” – Tons of great laugh out loud moments in this one including Matt LeBlanc’s hilariously delivered “Don’t do it!” (which also has a great blooper) and Ross’s dislike of ice cream. Jennifer Aniston’s dry delivery and perfect timing are also a delight. She’s often overlooked when people talk about the cast, but she’s killer and this is a particularly great example of her.

3. Season 10, “The One with the Late Thanksgiving” – A hilarious and heartwarming turn from the final season of the show, notable for Chandler and Monica receiving news that they’ve been chosen as adoptive parents. This is one of those trope-y sitcom episodes where everything kind of goes disastrous but it’s got a lot of great laughs including the dumb but delightful talking heads bit and the baby beauty pageant. The news of the adoption is particularly sweet, the kind of news you want surrounded by the people you love most.

2. Season 5, “The One with All the Thanksgivings”Friends flashback episodes are well-loved for a reason and this one is no exception. Joey getting the turkey stuck on his head is funny enough, but escalated when Phoebe tries to disguise him from Monica with parsley. Pre-nose job Rachel is a favorite every time she shows up and Chandler and Ross’s thematic outfits are glorious. Another great turn from Christina Pickles and Elliott Gould rounds out a great ep.

1. Season 4, “The One with Chandler in a Box” – This ep is hands-down my favorite because it’s not only the one that makes me laugh the hardest and most consistently, but also because its driving force is really friendship. Chandler and Joey’s relationship is always a great source of comedy for the show and it doesn’t disappoint here. Matthew Perry’s not even visible for most of the episode and he’s still killer. Michael Vartan is particularly babely and charming and his awkward kiss on the balcony with Courtney Cox is flawlessly hilarious.

What’s your top ten? What are your other Thanksgiving faves? Are you rewatching The West Wing where President Bartlet calls the Butterball Turkey Line today too? Or are you just eating a whole bunch and staring at the dog show? Whatever you do, enjoy it and know that I am thankful for you!

all hallows

review-ish: bath and body works candles

So, I recently got kind of hooked on watching YouTube videos of, like, make-up how-to people and I guess, like, lifestyle vloggers? And by hooked I mean I watched like four or five which is an outstanding number for someone who normally won’t watch a video longer than thirty seconds, especially when you take into account that a lot of these clock in the 12-15 minutes range. My tv has a built in YouTube app that recommends things to me, I’m powerless against its inscrutable algorithm.

Anyway, these color-coordinated, put-together, spotless-apartment-living, spend-more-on-make-up-in-a-month-than-I-have-in-five-years ladies kept mentioning Bath and Body Works candles. And I guess it sort of stuck in my head and then Crystal and I had to go to an almost-city so she could see her dentist and there’s a Bath and Body Works in the mall there and then the next thing I know I was coming home with eight candles? I think I was drunk. Or maybe lightheaded from sniffing every single candle in the store. Repeatedly.

I like candles! They’re great. I don’t buy a ton, but we do have a mix of real and battery candles scattered around our place. They look pretty cool and all and Crystal is really into this thing where we have a little row of them in mason jars in a windowsill. And we buy the occasional scented candle — I just sent Crystal on a mission to buy one while she was at Walmart the other day in fact — but I’m not, like, crazy about candles. So, you know, I didn’t expect to come home with eight of them.

In our vegetable wax and lead-free wick induced haze, we bought:

Lemon Mint Leaf — Freshly cut lemon balm and spearmint leaves give a refreshing lift to a blend of vetiver and citrus — My girlfriend chose this one because it is eerily close to the basil-lime dish soap we use and love. Haven’t burned it yet, but has a good cold (what I learned on the internet is called) throw. The sales associate said it’s one of the most popular candles in their store. It’s too spring-y to burn now, but come March I think it’s going to be our go-to.

Sweater Weather — Cuddle up with an aromatic blend of eucalyptus, juniper berry, and fresh sage that celebrates the arrival of sweater weather — This is amazing. I smelled this one pretty much as soon as I set foot in the store and came back to it over and over again. We knew we wanted a big fall candle and it came down between this one and Leaves because despite having very different descriptions, they smell incredibly similar, but Sweater Weather just had something that Leaves was missing. I’ll definitely be buying Leaves eventually though.

Harvest Coffee — Relax with this rich, robust blend of roasted coffee beans topped off by creamy vanilla foam — I don’t like coffee at all unless it’s masked with a bucket of milk, sugar, and whipped cream, but I love the smell of it. This one gives off a great smell when it’s unlit, but once it gets warm it is way, way too sweet and caramel-y. I’m not really a sweet candle person (I learned in the Bath and Body Works yesterday) but if you are and you like coffee, you’ll probably love this one.

Bergamot Woods — An aromatic woodsy blend, highlighted by bright bergamot, fresh lavender, and deep green cypress — I love this one, love love love it. Like, can’t stop opening it and sniffing it and worrying about “wasting” it. It’s what fragrance people probably classify as a masculine scent and those are scents to which I am frequently drawn. I see it pop up alongside reviews of Flannel pretty often, but I did not like Flannel at all, so clearly this scent thing is weird and subjective. This has a good burn smell and a good, lingering throw.

Marshmallow Fireside — A sweet-toasty end to a snowy, fun-filled day — toasted marshmallows and sumptuous vanilla cream blend with the comforting aroma of rich smoldering woods — This was Crystal’s pick and I fought her on it in a lazy and unengaged way because I just thought it was way, way too sweet and was being obstinate about it, but now I can’t stop sniffing it. It’s got a nice sweet note that isn’t too cloying and there is that woodsy undertone that I think I was just missing in the store. Looking forward to burning this post-Halloween.*

Sparkling Icicles — As sparkling as the ice at the local skating pond, this fragrance features a citrus bouquet, bergamot, and a touch of holiday moss — Another one I love love love and another fairly masculine scent. I actually picked this one because it smells like the pine forest/river rafting section of Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure and I plan to burn it and listen to the soundtrack and cry a lot. Just kidding. Kind of. Nice and woodsy.

Fresh Balsam — The invigorating aroma of evergreen woods on a clear, fall morning features crisp eucalyptus, fir needles, and cedarwood musk notes — Forget what the official descriptions says about fall, this is straight up Christmas, balsam is the smell of Christmas, and this one hits it just right. Not too woodsy, not too green, and it doesn’t smell like those little green Christmas tree car air fresheners.

Winter — A season full of fun in the snow is captured in notes of pine needles, clementine and winter woods — This one has some of the same initial scent as Sparkling Icicles, but it’s much less masculinely woodsy and much more cinnamon bark and pine. It’s more foody than floral, but not super sweet or sugary. I initially liked Snow Day better, but the more I smelled it, the sweeter it got, so Winter won out.

The big candles are $20. I still can’t get over that because it just seems absurd to me. I looked them up on the internet beforehand and I was like, “No, no way. $20 for a candle?! Who am I, Howard Hughes? I’m not lighting up the Spruce Goose over here!” And then I walked into the store and smelled them and just sort of stumbled from rack to rack, saying, “No, no, these are ridiculous. Twenty dollars!” until my arms were full and Crystal had to check us out and pull me bodily from the premises. To be fair, the little ones were 3 for $12 (3 for $10 online, but their shipping seems outrageous to me.) and that’s not terrible.

My official review is basically this: these things smell pretty great and there was an awesome variety of scents and even if I can’t get over their price — $20 dollars! — they’re pretty much worth it, especially if you’re not burning them all day, every day. Each is strongly scented but not in that chemical, headachy way and two of the three I’ve burned thus far have had an incredible range, smell great after being extinguished, and linger in a super pleasant, not overwhelming way. (And the third just isn’t my favorite personally, a ton of people probably love the crap out of it.) Plus, the labels peel off so easy, like, window-cling easy and if you care about that, you know exactly what a big deal that is.

Just give in and buy some already so we can, like, high-five about it or something. Jeez.

*: I think you should be aware at this point that I’ve been reading the official descriptions of these in Dana Carvey’s Church Lady voice. Important.

christmas in july

[true story: i took this and posted it to flickr and then a while later it was postedwithout credit to tumblr and it now has more that 12,000 notes. it’s not even a good picture.]
122308 -- l.a. dwp light festival


fireworks waiting [01072012 #adiml] post-fireworks glow [01072012 #adiml]


31 days of festive-ass flicks, day 31: a christmas story


Okay, I won’t keep shouting so that we may both preserve our respective sanities, even though I super love capslock because CAPSLOCK FOREVER.

A Christmas Story is great, so great. And sweet and beautiful and warm and hilarious and kind and nostalgic and GREAT. I’ve talked about this one before here, but I mean. This is a classic. DUH.

Ralphie! Randy! Mom and the Old Man! HOW DOES A PIGGY EAT? Scut Farkus and getting your tongue stuck to a pole and Peter Billingsley’s adorable expressive face!

And that feeling of wishing you could pull the words that just fell out of your mouth back in PHYSICALLY.

And OH FUDGE and the leg lamp and its “soft glow of electric sex” and such a good mom and soap in the mouth and the best siblings that grab your glasses for you while you’re kicking someone’s ass and mom’s putting cold washcloths on your neck/face to calm you down when you’re crying AND AND AND just excellence all around.

My only issues with this are, like, dumb ones? Like, WHY DOES NO ONE KNOW HOW TO HANDLE A BODY PART STUCK TO ICY METAL? Get some warm water and call that shit a day. Or How the mom is, like, WHERE DID YOU LEARN THAT TERRIBLE WORD and Ralphie EXPLICITLY thinks, “Well I can’t say DAD…” and she doesn’t get there on her own?! Dood is a MASTER OF SWEARING. And you’re going to buy that your kid learned “fuck” from a FRIEND. ARE YOU HIGH, MELINDA DILLON?! Also, super racist Asian stereotypes at the end, UGH. What was wrong with movies in the 80s?!

Anyway, that last shot of Mom and Dad sitting by the tree and watching the snow. UGH. It kills me. I feel all choked up and it’s so beautiful and simple and. UGH. It’s just a lovely story about a family and their Christmas and being lucky enough to get that one thing you really want that you never thought you’d actually end up with. SO BEAUTIFUL, SO MAGICAL.