Saturday, January 29, 2011

Netflix Pix

This week's "watch instantly" picks are all guaranteed to mess with your mind. Some will freak it the heck out. You will never look at Chinese food the same way again. If you have a weak stomach you may want to bypass this week's picks. This is one of my favorite lists of movies. I would love to know what you think of these.

Happy Viewing.

(Gaau ji)
2004 NR 90 minutes

Hoping to hang onto her unfaithful husband (Tony Leung Ka Fai) by looking younger, retired television star Mrs. Lee (Miriam Yeung Chin Wah) eagerly begins eating Aunt Mei's (Ling Bai) famous rejuvenation dumplings, but her increasing appetite for these rare delicacies leads to unsavory complications. Fruit Chan directs this disturbing horror film that features a gruesome look into the dumplings' secret ingredient: human fetuses.

2008 NR 101 minutes

In this psychological thriller, eight job applicants in a guarded, windowless room are given instruction, exams and 80 minutes to answer one discerning question that may win them a prime position. But they soon discover this is no ordinary test. The exams are blank. With one ejected for attempting to answer the unknown question, the remaining seven must decide what they will do and how far each will go for the coveted job.

The Human Centipede: First Sequence
(Human Centipede)
2009 UR 91 minutes

After their car breaks down while in Germany, Americans Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) wind up at a remote villa -- and soon find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser) kidnaps them for his demented experiment to create a human "centipede." The plan includes removing their kneecaps so they must walk on all fours, then surgically connecting them to a Japanese man to create a bizarre human chain.

The Return

NR 110 minutes

The sudden reappearance of a man (Konstantin Lavronenko) who left his family 12 years earlier stirs up some mixed emotions in the household. His sons know him only from photographs, and while teenage Andrey (Vladimir Garin) is content to accept the unexplained turn of events, his younger brother, Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov), wants answers: Where has the man been all this time, and why is he back? Director Andrey Zvyagintsev's feature film debut.

The Other Man

2008 R 88 minutes

Over dinner, Peter's (Liam Neeson) wife, Lisa (Laura Linney), essentially reveals that she's been cheating on him -- and then disappears the following day. Obsessed with learning the details, Peter tracks down Ralph (Antonio Banderas), Lisa's lover. Believing Ralph doesn't know who he is, Peter plays little games with him in an effort to quell his own despair. Master of human insight Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal) crafts this compelling drama.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tax Do's and Don'ts

It tax season. Time to pay up or be reimbursed. If you hate this time of year then you will probably wait until April 15th to actually do them and mail them. The commercials for tax preparation companies are in full bloom at 10 decibels higher than all the rest. They have lots of that federal green fanned out in your face with Visa prepaid cards to help entice you to use their services. Here are a few tips to keep in mind that may save you from being robbed by both the government and paid tax preparers.

Don't allow your joint tax filings to go into the mail without going through them yourself. You wouldn't sign a contract without reading it would you? This is no different. Tax filings are a declaration of income and an agreement to pay or be reimbursed based upon your declarations. Like all contracts there are penalties for breaches. If you pay too little you have to pay what you owe plus a fine and interest. If you neglect to declare your taxable income you could lose your freedom. The "babe of the woods" or "ditsy wife" routine will do nothing for you here. You need to be knee deep in this part of your finances. You and your husband both are jointly and severely liable for any penalties just as you both are entitled to the return.

Do take your completed tax forms to a living breathing person to have a second look. There is no shame or time wasted in being extra careful. You can go to a place like H&R Block where they basically use the same computer programs that you can buy anywhere else or can use online. My best recommendation is the government itself. Go in January or February to a tax clinic in your area and let their own employees help you with your filing. If anything goes wrong, that employee's job is on the line.

Don't rely solely upon another person or service to find all of your possible deductions or mistakes. They only know what the computer tells them. People make mistakes and will quickly blame you before they lose their jobs or face a huge fine. They won't have to face an audit if they mess up.

Don't pay for software. You can use an online tax service for federal taxes like the ones you see on TV. State tax filings like in California often have their own Internet filing sites. It has all of the same information. The information that the government sends out on paper is input into computer programs and used by tax preparation companies and websites. If you know someone who has paid for it, you may as well borrow it. It's only good for one year anyway.

Do rat out your boss. There is no excuse for an employer not having mailed out your W-2's by now. You can wait until April and file or file now. Whenever you choose to file, if your employer has not given you what you need there is a form to complete that states this fact. You have to use your last pay stub of the year for that information but it can be done.

Don't get tax return loans. This is about as idiotic of a move as signing your joint return without reading it. Tax refunds are just that, refunds. You paid taxes from every paycheck all year long. Now the government is determining if you paid too little, too much, or the right amount. If you have a refund coming, you have paid them too much. So they are refunding your money. When you get a loan on this, you are getting a loan on your own money. You're paying to get your own money back. It's as dumb a move as a payday advance.

Don't get your refund on a prepay card. There are two reasons not to do this. One is there could have been a mistake. You see how much you are getting a refund for and start spending the money in your head. You get so excited all you can do is think about getting the money now. You get it on the card and when the check comes it goes to whomever gave you the card. But what if the government determines you made a mistake? You will have to pay back what you spent if you over calculated your refund. You could also be cheated if the government determines you missed a deduction. Each year I receive an extra refund for a deduction that between me, my husband, the software and a third party, we managed to miss. Do you trust the company you used to tell you there is more money coming your way?

The second reason not to have a prepaid card for your returns is computer errors. As a bank employee I can honestly tell you that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING we can do to get you your money back on the spot if the computer makes a mistake on your transaction. Even if the name of our bank is on the back of your card, we can't help you. Our name on the back means we made the cards, nothing more. Think of it like this. You bank at Wells and go to Chase to use the ATM. The machine processes $200 and gives you $20. You have to file a claim with both Chase and Wells to get your money back. Chase has to process that ATM on schedule, not before, and see how "over" the machine is to make sure you're not lying. Wells has the ability to give credit until your claim is resolved. This could take 30 days in some cases. It's the same thing with the prepaid cards. On top of that you pay a fee when you withdraw from the card. So you are being charged to access your own money.

Do use your refund to pay off any debts, take a vacation, or to reinvest. If you had that money in your hands to begin with, you would have paid bills, taken a vacation or added more to your retirement plan. Do that now. Treat your refund like its just an extra paycheck. It isn't a win from the lottery. Don't use it to make new debts or go all out for material wants rather than to satisfy your needs. Examples would be, using the money to open a CD for your child to save up for private school rather than using it to put a down payment on an Escalade when you live in an apartment with one child and no one else. Or, adding it to an account that has high interest to save for a down payment on a house. The large amount of the check will make higher interest and help you reach your goal faster. Restrain yourself and put it to good use.

Don't cash your refund check. Always deposit it into a federally insured bank. Thieves know you are carrying your refund. There is no insurance on cash. This would be the only time a prepaid card could benefit you. If you have ruined your banking relationships and can no longer bank anywhere then it is better to pay a fee to access your money on an insured card that can be blocked than to carry cash.

Do verify whether or not you have to claim your refund on TANF programs. Some Tribal TANF programs want to know if you got money back because it counts as income for them. Most do not because that one check would instantly make everyone ineligible. This is not the time to double dip. Remember, there are others that need help and you could go to jail.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ask Red: Laundry Quandry

Dear Red,

No matter what stain remover I use, some stains just won't come out. No matter how fresh the stain is or how vigorously I rub the fabric together I still see shadows of stains. I read your blog about not using bleach. I have to wonder how white are your whites? Do you have shadow stains on your clothes? I need to know what I'm missing because this is costing me time and money.


Dear Chelsea,

I'm glad that you are trying so hard to remain green and inexpensive in your laundering. It sounds like you need to make two adjustments. The first adjustment is how you treat the stain.

First, you have to fully saturate the stain. You may want to lay the garment over a piece of cardboard so there will be no stain transfer. Second you will need more friction on the stain than rubbing the fabric together can cause. By rubbing the fabric together you are merely transferring the stain from one part of the garment to another. Try buying a dish brush, one with a refillable reservoir would be a great option as you can fill it with stain remover. Brush the stain being careful not to harm the fabric. This causes the stain to lift rather than smear. If your formula of stain remover doesn't suds up or foam up you need a new formula. This is a great alternative to waiting 5 minutes after treating the stain.

The second adjustment is the water temperature. My whites stay bright as I wash all of my stained clothes (mostly baby and child organic stains) in cold water and then separate the whites and wash the unstained white item in hot or warm water. No bleach needed. No dryer use in between.

Use the following guide to help you.

Protein Stains- cold water

  • Baby food
  • Milk
  • Baby formula
  • Mucous
  • Blood
  • Cheese sauce
  • Mud
  • Cream
  • Pudding
  • Egg
  • Urine
  • Feces
  • Vomit
  • Gelatin
  • White glue; school paste
  • Ice cream

Tannin Stains- hot water

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Beer
  • Berries
  • Coffee
  • Cologne
  • Felt-tip water color pen or washable ink
  • Fruit juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Tea
  • Tomato juice

Oil-based Stains- hot water

  • Automotive oil
  • Hair oil
  • Bacon fat
  • Hand lotion
  • Butter/margarine
  • Lard
  • Car door grease
  • Mayonnaise
  • Collar/cuff greasy rings
  • Salad dressing
  • Cooking fats and oils
  • Suntan oil or lotion
  • Face creams
Inks and dyes, if removable are done so with alcohol. Typically, it takes several washes for the stain to release. Don't be surprised if you just have to "wear out" the stain. If you have a garment that cannot be washed in the temperature required to remove the stain then fill a spray bottle with the required temperature and only treat the stain. Don't dry your stained laundry in the dryer if the stain is still present. It will set the stain.

Dear Red,

I use a public laundromat and I don't have money to waste quarters on the dryer. I hate being there all day so I use the big dryers and hope that all my clothes are dry. But they never are. Is there a way to speed this up without going broke?


Dear Tricia,

You're playing with a loaded deck at the laundromat. The dryers are not as hot as a home dryer which causes patrons to use them longer by adding more quarters. The ones that are as hot only last about 12 minutes including the cool down which does no one any good. Here is what you do. Don't be so anxious to throw the load straight from the washer to the dryer. Wait for all of your wet laundry and sort them as follows: towels, jeans, linens, everything else. Towels are designed to hold moisture so they make everything else wet. Dry them alone and they are done in half the time. Jeans are made from a heavy cotton that has the same effect as the cotton and polyester in the towels. It takes more heat the dry them both so dividing them allows the maximum amount of heat to be absorbed. Linens like sheets and blankets don't take longer than clothes but they are larger in size. Clothing gets trapped in the linens causing both to stay wet. As you dry your clothes pull out things like lingerie as it becomes dry. This allows everything else more access to the heat. Do this with all of your dryers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dirty Red II: Lingerie Questions Answered

There seems to be a trend forming. I have more questions from lost husbands daring to venture into the lingerie boutique. I am honored to answer your questions. Your names are in my vault and your answers are in my blog. Keep your questions coming!

What's a boustier?

Pronounced boost-ee-ay, a bustier (alternately bustiere) is like a corset but its primary purpose is to push up the bust by tightening against the upper midriff and forcing the breasts up, while gently shaping the waist. It is typically worn as a push- up bra under a low-backed dress, or as a camisole for outer wear.

How can I get my beautiful wife to wear sexy lingerie like you have on Facebook? I don't want to spend money on something that won't be worn. She used to spend an hour in Victoria's Secret. Now she won't even look at the store when we pass by. Is it a mommy thing?

Yes, it is a mommy thing. Chances are her baby gave her curves she didn't have before or exaggerated what was already there. As a former Victoria's Secret employee I can honestly tell you that their lingerie was intended for teens and 20 somethings that are an A to a C cup. Full figured women are not likely to find lingerie that compliments them there. In fact. the add campaigns are focused on adding curves where there are none. This is why I prefer places like Frederick's of Hollywood. It focuses on dressing the curves that are already there. If you have one in your neighborhood, you need to take her there.

Your wife sounds like she needs a confidence booster. Try complimenting her every chance you get. For example, take her to Dirty Red and say, "Damn, you would look so hot in that." She will try to deflect. But gently soothe her ego by describing how beautiful she already is and how much more you would be turned on by seeing her in the different styles. Your desire and increased attraction to her in lingerie will equal her confidence in wearing it. But be patient and don't push. When she wears it, even if her muffin top is too much for the lingerie to handle, treat her like she's world's last cupcake. Steer her toward something that fits better by buying it as a gift. Your admiration is the key to her confidence.

What is a Demi Bra?

Demi bras, also known as balconette bras, are half-cup bras with wide-set straps and a straight bust line. Often seamed or boned, they promote cleavage and a frame-like effect. These offer less support but enable low-cut garments to be worn without the bra being seen. Demi bras may be designed to provide lift as do push-up bras. They are not made for support so if your wife is full figured you make sure you buy the bra from a full figure specific boutique or designer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rule of Five Part I

I can only begin to tell you how many emails, phone calls and letters I receive from disheartened housewives. Many of them are about their husbands but the majority are about how disappointed they are in the outcome of their lives. It can be a heartbreaking reality for many who planned on being bigger than life by the time they were married with children. Some housewives are becoming alcoholics as a way to cope with their own perceived failures. Even more housewives are severely depressed.

If you are one of these housewives, you are not alone. Before you count your life as a loss take some time to re-evaluate your situation. If you participated in the Martin Luther King Jr Day journal activity, now would be a good time to begin writing if you haven't already. Start by writing a couple pages using the Rule of Five.

Rule of Five: Self Reflection
  • 5 years ago I wanted to be...
  • Since then I have done the following to achieve that goal...
  • Since then I have done the following that has prevented me from reaching that goal...
  • As a result of my actions or lack of actions I am now...
  • 5 years from now I want to be...
This reflection will help you remember where you were going and help you get a grip on where you really are. By taking note of what you've done you may notice that you really are on track. You may notice that you are only a few steps away from completing that goal and have simply lost sight of your progress. This reflection may also help you realize what you've done to sabotage your own success. It is important to be honest with yourself as you write about these five points. Being honest with yourself about what you have done to sabotage your goals might reveal the reasons for the sabotage. Maybe you are afraid of succeeding in your goals. It is equally important to acknowledge how your actions, good or bad, have brought you to where you are today. Life doesn't just happen to us. If you can accept this then you can sooner take control of your life.

Rule of Five: Progression
  • Is your new goal realistic? For example, if you want to be a ballerina by 30 and you're 28, you may want to find a more realistic goal. By setting an unattainable goal you are deliberately sabotaging your success. You can't fail if you can't reach the goal in the first place.
  • What must be done to reach your goals? I say "must" because this entails all of the things required to reach this goal whether or not you're willing. Honesty is important here as in all of these bullet points.
  • What must change in your way of life to make this dream a reality? This question is perhaps the most frightening. Some wives find that the thing that must change is their marital status or the person to whom they are married. No matter how disturbing, be honest about what has to change in your life.
  • Are you willing to make the necessary changes and take the necessary steps to change your life? Now that you know what it takes to be where you want in life, are you willing to take the steps? Again, be honest. If not then go back to step one with a new goal.
  • What will it take to remain focused? Do you need a new network of friends? A new address?

Life can be overwhelming when you are focused on the journey and not your destinations. Take a time out to re-evaluate and redirect as often as you deem necessary. Keep your focus on your goals and all of the other stuff around you becomes smaller and smaller.

Write to Red at

Dirty Red: Lingerie Questions Answered

What's a corset? How do I buy the right size and what else should I buy my wife to go with it?

The most common and well-known use of corsets is to slim the body and make it conform to a fashionable silhouette. For women this most frequently emphasizes a curvy figure, by reducing the waist and thereby exaggerating the bust and hips.

An overbust corset covers the bust, waist and hips. They sometimes come with shoulder straps.

An underbust corset begins just under the breasts and extends down to the hips.

Corsets come with garters, little clips that hook to hosiery or bustles or even skirts. Most corsets come with matching panties, thongs being the most popular. If you are buying a corset for your wife check for garters. If it has garters just add hosiery, if not you will need a garter belt to go with the hosiery. Matching panties aren't necessary but they would complete the look.

Hosiery would be according to taste. Fishnet thigh-highs are the most popular. The average or bold woman prefers black. A woman into the 50's may prefer smooth thigh-highs with seams. If your wife comes off as sweet, shy or innocent she may prefer white hosiery with lace.

To ensure the right size without giving away your gift surprise, snatch a bra and a fitted t-shirt belonging to your wife. This will tell you what her cup size and waist size is. It is important to note what type of bra you've nabbed, demi, full, etc.

You can buy corsets and more at Dirty Red

Friday, January 21, 2011

Netflix Pix

My picks for this week are in both instant watch and DVD. I decided to try going by a theme to compliment movies that are in theaters or that are on their way to theaters.

Curse of the Golden Flower
(Man Cheng Jin Dai Huang Jin Jia)
2007 R 114 minutes

This lavish film from landmark director Yimou Zhang follows the romantic intrigue and political machinations in the house of the Emperor Ping (Yun-Fat Chow) and his ailing wife (Li Gong), a pair whose secret passions and schemes ultimately affect the lives of their children. Will their reign end in a bloody coup for all? Sumptuous costumes and dazzling martial arts form the backdrop for this complex tale of loyalty, deception, love and betrayal.

Catch Jay Chou as Kato in the remake of The Green Hornet.

The Fabulous Baker Boys
1989 R 114 minutes

Sibling jazz musicians Frank (Beau Bridges) and Jack Baker (Jeff Bridges) decide they need a chanteuse to spice up their piano act and take them beyond seedy nightclubs. They choose beautiful and sexy songbird Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer), and the trio becomes a huge success. But when a relationship develops between Susie and Jack, the brothers are forced to think about where they're headed -- and how honest they've been with each other.

Catch Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy and True Grit.

2000 PG-13 104 minutes

Amid increasing fear and bigotry, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) provides a safe haven for powerful outcasts like Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Storm (Halle Berry), who are genetically gifted mutants -- and the world's newest, most persecuted minority group. In an explosive battle for freedom and honor, the X-Men take on Magneto (Ian McKellen) and his band of evil mutants, who relish the public's paranoia.

Catch Halle in her limited release movie Frankie & Alice

The Transporter

2002 PG-13 92 minutes

Former Special Forces officer Frank Martin (Jason Statham) will deliver anything to anyone for the right price, and his no-questions-asked policy puts him in high demand. But when he realizes his latest cargo is alive, it sets in motion a dangerous chain of events. The bound and gagged Lai (Shu Qi) is being smuggled to France by a shady American businessman, and Frank works to save her as his own illegal activities are uncovered by a French detective.

Catch Jason Statham in The Mechanic coming soon to theaters.

The Iron Giant

1999 PG 86 minutes

In rustic 1957 Maine, 9-year-old Hogarth finds a colossal but disoriented robot (of unknown origin), and the two form a strong bond of friendship. Before long, however, a government agent is on their trail -- and he's intent on destroying the automaton. This beautifully rendered parable based on British poet Ted Hughes' feted short story features the voices of Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr. and Cloris Leachman.

Catch Vin Diesel in Fast Five: The Fast & The Furious 5.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Golden Globe Backlash

So the press is reporting that Ricky Gervais will not be asked to host the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. Apparently his performance was so insulting that the celebrities being honored were quite offended. You know your girl Red would have something to say about this so here it is.

Dear Offended Celebrities,

I understand how upsetting it was to have a comedian tell jokes on your night of nights. I mean, a comedian telling jokes and making fun of people, really? That sort of thing is unheard of and someone really should give that Ricky a swift kick in the bum, as his people would say. The idea of someone not kissing the pampered rumps of millionaire movie and television stars is simply unacceptable. In an economy where people are losing their homes for as little as $1000, celebrities should be able to parade down a red carpet wearing hideous gowns that cost more than a default mortgage without being ridiculed.

We should be grateful and understand that this award show is televised for our benefit. We need to see the wasteful spending and gloating taking place at an event who's entire existence serves to praise pompous entertainers. True none of us picked the winners and therefore our opinions on best performance don't matter. True Ricky Gervais was only saying what we mere peons truly think of you anyway. But who is he to do so? Not only did he take license to express our discontent with your quality of work as of late but he actually had the nerve to edit out all of the foul names and hyena-like laughing that we use to express our feelings about your overtly publicized lives. It's almost as revolting as the massive amounts of money spent on this shameless display of wealth. I mean you all could have pooled your money and saved a neighborhood of foreclosing homes or saved a nation of closing food banks but that's not important. What's important are your feelings and how Ricky Gervais mercilessly battered them.

Sarcastically yours,
The Red Housewife.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sewing Project: His Team

You're his biggest fan. It's time to show your team spirit with a personalized jersey dress. There are several ways to go about this project. No matter which route you choose you will surely leave him cheering for more. Even a man that isn't into sports loves the way a woman looks wearing a jersey dress. If he is a sports fan, particularly an NFL fan he would stand up and do the wave for you if you sexify a jersey from his favorite team. Here are some ideas.

  1. Go to to customize a jersey with his name on the back of his favorite team jersey. When it arrives alter the dress to make it as sexy and as personal as you can. For instance, my husband is a Raiders fan. I have a jersey with his first name on the back and the number 07 on the back to represent our wedding date. I cut open the sides of the ribbon and tailored it to fit. Instead of sewing the dress closed I laced the sides with black ribbon. I wear it every Raiders game.
  2. Go to a uniform shop that makes jerseys for local leagues and have one custom made for you.
  3. Go to a fabric store like Joann's and make one from scratch. Don't forget the iron-on lettering and numbers. Get creative. Use numbers and words that means something only the two of you will know about. Don't forget the heels.
  4. Buy a jersey dress from sports store or at

This is a great thing to wear for Game-Day, St. Valentine's Day and role playing. The whole cheerleading thing can get a little worn out. But a strip tease in a jersey on Game-Day never gets old or forgotten.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dream Journals

It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day and your children are home from school. All week and all next month they will cover all of the most known facts about the civil rights leader but not much more will happen. Here's an activity that will surely become an annual tradition for your family. It is also a wonderful way to remember Martin Luther King Jr. year round and not just during Black History Month.

Dream Journals are not a new concept nor are they difficult for children of any age. All you need is construction paper, markers, crayons, magazines, glue, yarn and scissors. Be creative and help your child make a small journal. If your child is kindergarten age or younger they can keep track of their dreams by making mini collages on the pages or by practicing to write by actually writing about them. In the Dream Journal you want your child to document what they dream about becoming when they grow up. Have him do this once a week. At the end of the year you can sit together and look through the journal and discuss how his dreams have changed or remained the same.

For older children you can actually buy a blank journal from Borders and let her decorate it. If your child is a tween or older you don't want to take it upon yourself to read what's in it. Feel free to give your tween topics to write about. Encourage her to write about her dreams and her future. Also, if you notice she is having difficulty expressing herself lately, encourage her to write about it. By having her write about it she will find comfort in her feelings and her trust for you. Chances are if she decides to share those feelings with someone she will share those feelings with you.

For you, go to to find a nice handmade journal or google "journal" and find one that fits your needs. If you can't find one that fits your personality make one yourself. Make sure it's big enough to last you all year. Take this time to write about your dreams in every sense of the word. Write about what you dreamed about becoming or seeing happening. Write about how that has changed. Write about your sleeping dreams. Speculate on their meaning. I keep my journal beside my bed to write about my dreams as soon as I wake up to prevent forgetting them. I made one for my husband to take with him to work so that he can get out his anger from his job before he comes home. I made one for my sister-in-law to help her get back into poetry.

Now you have two traditions to try out on Martin Luther King Jr. day. One is to start a new journal and the other is to give them as gifts to other people. Regardless of which tradition you choose to follow, it will spread. Don't be surprised if someone gives you a dream journal one year.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Netflix Pix

This week's Instant Watch movie suggestions are from four different categories. There's a comedy act that parents will have a special connection with, a mind blowing indie film, a children's cult classic and a horror film sequel who's original was famous for being an all female horror film. Add them to your instant cue and tell me what you think of them.

Kevin Hart Seriously Funny is hilarious in a way that you never see coming. He talks about everyone imaginable from the young to the old, the rich to the poor, and even himself. His comedic point of view of marriage and fatherhood is reminiscent of Bill Cosby's Himself.

Unlike Bill Cosby, Kevin does use profanity in his comedy but it is mild in my opinion. If your child is the type to pick up every inappropriate word you'll want to watch this after you verify that he is in bed snoring. If you tend to use profanity on a daily basis as I am guilty of then this will be nothing your child hasn't heard before.

Out of a possible 5 stars I gave him three.

The Burning Plain is a gripping, mind bending Indie film starring Charlize Theron and Kim Bassinger. Every time you think you know where this movie is going it goes somewhere else. It is written and directed by Guillermo Arriaga screenwriter of Amorres Perros, 21 Grams and Babel. This is his directorial debut.

Typical of Arriaga's works, this film is told in a non-linear narrative, where events are revealed out of sequence. The following plot summary is in chronological order, and thus does not reflect the exact sequence of the events as seen on screen. I can't really tell you too much more about the film or it would unravel the plot for you. I can't tell you that it is a refreshing movie plot that has not been done a thousand and one times. Your jaw will drop in shock and disbelief.

The Descent Part 2 is the follow up to the highly underrated, all female horror The Descent. In Descent The film followed six women who become trapped in an unmapped cave system in the Appalachian Mountains of North America, where they are hunted by carnivorous creatures who have evolved and adapted to life underground.

In The Descent Part 2, two days after the events of the first film, Sarah Shauna Macdonald is washed away to safety with no memory of the events of the last time she was in the cave. She is taken to a hospital, where it is revealed some of the blood on her matches that of Juno Kaplan Natalie Mendoza. Sheriff Vaines demands that along with his deputy Elen Rios, Sarah and three specialists - Dan, Greg and Cath, must go back into the cave to find the missing women. A new entrance is found with the help of a sniffer dog. The team members are sent down via an old mine shaft operated by the old, mysterious Ed Oswald. Then, all hell breaks loose.

The Sandlot is another children's cult classic. Critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, comparing the movie to a summertime version of A Christmas Story, based on the tone and narration of both films. He said of one scene, "There was a moment in the film when Rodriguez hit a line drive directly at the pitcher's mound, and I ducked and held up my mitt, and then I realized I didn't have a mitt, and it was then I also realized how completely this movie had seduced me with its memories of what really matters when you are 12."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Game Day Essential

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.

We all know that TABASCO® Original Red goes great with scrambled eggs, mac and cheese, and even popcorn. College students everywhere are responsible for the spicy Top Ramen flavors. A few splashes of TABASCO® Original Red and you had something that tasted much more delicious than anything that could come from that little foil seasoning packet. Look up seafood gumbo recipes and you may be surprised to find TABASCO® Original Red replacing Louisiana hot sauce in the recipe for the roux. That's because TABASCO® Original Red is more about flavor than heat. It's such a delightfully simple concoction made of salt, red pepper and vinegar and aged for 3 years. Still it goes so well with every thing. I'm sure you all remember when TABASCO® Original Red was added to A-1 sauce. The spicy steak sauce was constantly sold out. Not surprisingly, TABASCO® Original Red goes with pretty much every Game Day recipe that your guests will want to see on the table.

Pizza Perfected

You can sprinkle it on the pizza you may have gone half on with your guests. I like it on chicken pizza. It enhances the flavors without changing or overpowering them like Louisiana hot sauces can do. Unlike the Louisiana hot sauces, one drop really does do it. Pizza with TABASCO® Original Red is a great time saver if you  don't feel like making Buffalo wings. You will have started a new Super Bowl tradition that doesn't involve cooking. TABASCO® Original Red packs such a flavorful punch you can actually buy a cheaper pizza and make it taste better with a few splashes per slice. All you need is a $5 pizza, TABASCO® and some ranch.

Buffalo Wings:

Buffalo wings is one of those few recipes where TABASCO® Original Red and Louisiana hot sauce actually work together. You can't have authentic Buffalo wings without TABASCO® Original Red. But just in case you want a little variety in your Game Day party wing platter, the Taste Tent at has you covered with 6 different recipes. In fact, there's a great Game-Day Party Menu featuring all of your favorite finger foods and chili.

TABASCO® Original Red isn't just the favorite of all 6 TABASCO® flavors. It's also a frequently listed ingredient in cookbooks that catalog your cupboard must haves.

So stock up before Game Day and don't forget the Bloody Marys or the TNT shots (Tequila, lime & TABASCO® Original Red instead of salt).

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January Sight Words

A sight word is a word that is memorized by sight. It is a method of learning to read. By pointing to a word each time it is read the reader learns to memorize what it looks and sounds like. Though the person isn't technically reading they are memorizing words thus reducing the amount of time it takes to learn to read. When the reader is in school they are learning through phonetics. This is the best method as it teaches the reader to read practically any word they come upon as opposed to memorizing only the ones they have seen. Once the reader learns to read phonetically, the sight words they already know are plugged in. They don't spend as much time trying to figure out every word as many of them have already been memorized.

Your Baby Can Read is based on the sight word model. Many of my readers ask me about Your Baby Can Read because they've seen adds for it on television. In my opinion it is worth the $15-$20 you pay for what you receive in the package. It's a great option for giving your child a head start on reading. I must stress that your child isn't reading but memorizing.

Of course, your girl Red has a cheaper solution for you. You can make your own sight word tools at home. This way the words you choose are always age appropriate without having to purchase new levels. One of many great sight word tools are flash cards. You can make them out of construction paper for color or use index cards. Index cards are also color coded to help you sort the words with ease. My favorite method is word games. Word search puzzles are a great way to teach your reader to look through all of the other words and letters and recognize the sight words no matter how it is written. Sight word Bingo is a big hit.

If you aren't the arts and crafts kind of person you can always buy the Spongebob Square Pants Learn To Read box set. It comes with books that contain sight words, workbooks, and flashcards. It runs about $12 and is available at Scholastic.

If you prefer the television you can sit your child in front of Super Why Super Readers. It airs on PBS.

For those who prefer to follow The Red Housewife you can keep up with the monthly sight words on my Facebook Fan Page.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wings Over Buffalo

Here is my copycat recipe for Chili's Wings Over Buffalo. I love their wings. But lately, every time I go there the appetizer has increased by a dollar and decreased in number of wings. They started at about $6 and order and are now $9 and order. I found it cheaper to make them myself and have as many as I want, any time of day.

Makes 6 Servings


  • 36 chicken party wings (They come frozen by the bag)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco red sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Frank's Louisiana hot sauce
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
  • celery sticks
  • blue cheese dressing (I prefer ranch) for dipping


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  1. In a bowl toss the wings with the oil, and salt. Place into a large bag, and add the flour. Shake to coat evenly. Remove wings and shake off excess flour. Spread them out on an oiled foil-lined baking pan(s). Do not crowd. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are crispy, turning the wings halfway through.

  2. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan and simmer over low heat.

  3. Before the wings cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl and pour the sauce over them. Coat completely.
These are great on Game Day with potato skins, beer or mixed drinks, sliders, ribs or fries.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Netflix Pix

Here are the "Watch Instantly" picks for this weekend directly from The Red Housewife's Netflix queue.

Carved (also known as Slit-Mouthed Woman) with the Japanese title Kuchisake-Onna, is a J-Horror movie released on August 14, 2007. It referred to a ghost from Japanese Mythology called the Kuchisake-Onna, as well as a modern version of the tale of a woman, mutilated by a jealous husband, and returned as a malicious spirit bent on committing the same acts done to her.

Legend holds that 30 years ago, a suburban town was terrorized by the spirit of a woman whose horrid face had been grotesquely disfigured. Roaming the streets wearing a long coat and carrying large scissors, the spirit would approach her young victims and, while removing the mask, ask if she was pretty. The victim’s response would almost always lead to their violent death. Now, one by one, children are disappearing again.

The Messenger is a 2009 war drama film starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Steve Buscemi, Jena Malone, and Samantha Morton. It is the directorial debut of Oren Moverman, who also wrote the screenplay with Alessandro Camon.

The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was in competition at Berlin International Film Festival 2009 where it won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay and the Berlinale Peace Film Award '09. The film received first prize for the 2009 Deauville American Film Festival. The film has also received four Independent Spirit Award nominations (including one win), a Golden Globe nomination, and two Academy Award nominations.

Will Montgomery (Ben Foster), plays a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who has returned home from war, is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Montgomery is partnered with Captain Tony Stone , to give notice to the families of fallen soldiers. The Sergeant is drawn to Olivia Pitterson (Samantha Morton), to whom he has delivered news of her husband’s death.

Shaun The Sheep

A premise of the series is that Shaun the sheep exhibits human intelligence, creativity, and behaviour in a farm setting, which usually provides a situational comedy conflict which Shaun must resolve before the end of each episode. Recurring themes include the characters evading the sheepdog Bitzer (though he is sometimes with the sheep in their escapades) and avoiding discovery by the Farmer. In the first episode, a stray cabbage bouncing into the field provokes an impromptu football game. In the second episode, a freezing cold sheep dip sends Shaun on a commando raid to get hot water from the Farmer’s bathtub.

Episodes are very much a combination of slapstick and classic silent comedy in Aardman’s recognisable animation style. There is no spoken dialogue, even by human characters. In this way it is reminiscent of silent comedy films and even Pingu and the animated version of Mr. Bean. However, simple grunts, bleats, and sighs are all used to add subtle expression to each character's moods and feelings.

Based on the theme song, a longer, compact disc version was released under the title "Life's a Treat", performed by Vic Reeves,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happiness Resolved

It's resolution time. Housewives everywhere are resolving to lose weight, eat right and spend less. We all know that in most cases this will not end well. Hopefully you will be the exception to the rule. For those of us who want at least one year without weight loss as a New Year's resolution I have the perfect suggestion.

Make 2011 your year of happiness. Resolve to be happy.

Step one: Confront your finances

Calculate your annual salary. Calculate how much you paid in taxes last year by looking at your pay stubs or W-2 and subtract that amount from your annual salary. Calculate your rent and bills for 12 months and subtract that from your income. This is what you have left to pay off your credit. Don't create new unnecessary debt. Make a list of everything you need. When you see a sale check to see if what you need is on sale. If it isn't, don't shop. It's that simple. If you shop anyway, the money you need to spend on necessities is going toward desires and you will wind up unhappy in the end. Remember that this sale is not a once in a lifetime sale. There is only one time of year when you should go all out at a sale and that is from Black Friday to Christmas. Avoid after Christmas sales like the plague. Most of the things on sale are either being discontinued or are defective returns.

Step Two: Make realistic weight loss goals.

Never resolve to lose a massive amount of weight by a deadline. It is almost a guaranteed fail which will certainly result in unhappiness. Most diets fail because of unrealistic goals. Think about your dieting history. Each time you dieted you probably lost between 5 and 15 lbs the first 5 weeks and then plateaued. Shortly thereafter you quit your diet. Always remember that the first month of a diet you are mostly losing water weight. Once you plateau it's time to step up your game and exercise. Don't choose a restrictive diet. When you deprive yourself of something completely you will go after it twice as much as you had done originally. Resolve to add a salad to every meal, drink a glass of water after sweets or with every meal and snack. Eat one meatless meal a week to save money and calories.

Step Three: Give yourself one night a month

Let's face it, having one date night a week is difficult when a trip to the movies for two costs at least $50 not including dinner or the sitter. If your husband works odd hours you can pretty much forget it. This can be frustrating. Frustration leads to unhappiness. Instead, give yourself one night a month. Take one night out to dinner or to a show, whatever you want to do. If you can't steal a night then give yourself a day, at the spa or at the mall. My favorite way to give myself a day is to hire a maid. Maid services for one day can catch you up for a month. It's affordable and it gives you a running head start. Be creative. Give yourself a day or a night a month to stay happy.

Step Four: Take a trip

It doesn't have to be a long, expensive trip. It can be a trip to the beach, to a local casino or wherever. Just be sure to take a trip at least once a quarter. It does need to be to a city other than your own. If gas is too expensive then take a short trip to a bed and breakfast for a night. You could rent a room in town and order room service. Taking a trip is a great escape and a great way to stay happy.

Step Five: Increase your intellect

Learn a language or teach a language in your spare time. Study up on the math you could never understand before. It will help when your child brings home that homework assignment he needs your to help with. Read a history book and learn about someone you didn't know about before. Being a housewife doesn't mean the only thing you need to know about is soap operas and ketchup stains. Come to think of it, a crash course in chemistry would help immensely. many women are unhappy with being a housewife because people talk down to them. If you make an effort to learn new things you won't lose touch with the rest of the world.

Step Six: Sign away your kids

Basketball sign-ups should be happening right about now at your local YMCA or community center. Baseball won't be far behind. The cost is typically about $50 a season. If your child isn't old enough to join a competitive team sign them up for an everybody wins league. Boy or girl doesn't matter. Get them out of the house to a place where they can burn energy. That makes bed and nap times easy for you. The sight of your little one participating with a team can make you smile.

Step Seven: Redesign your routine

There's no point in getting bent out of shape every time someone fails to wash out a dish or scrub a toilet. You may be expecting too much from your family. You know that no matter how many times you tell your husband to was a dish when he's done he won't do it. So don't bother getting upset over it. Simply serve his food on paper plates. It won't be long before he gets tired of it and puts more of an effort into washing out his own dish. Your kids are not going to stop leaving skid marks in their underwear or in the toilet until they are old enough to be embarrassed. Until then, become their supervisor and not their maid. Make them pre-treat their own underwear and scrub their own toilet. It won't be long before they stop leaving skid marks. People don't realize what you deal with until they have to do it themselves. This goes for discipline too. You don't always have to spank when timeouts stop working. Try using your camera phone to your advantage. Snap a pic of your child in mid tantrum and threaten to text it to everyone she knows. She will straighten right up and you will get a great laugh. Works every time.

Do whatever you can to remain happy this year. There are enough things to be upset about.