O: Ooooh, the Claaaaw *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

I'm not the only one who's fudging on a few of these letters, am I? But come on---what could Ooooh, the Claw mean besides Toy Story?

This movie came out in 1995, the year before I started having kids, so I don't think I've ever looked at their toys as anything but characters that come alive when we're not around.  When my toddler son pulled out Woody's voice box, I freaked a little that I was raising a Sid, but when in his adolescent fickleness he moved on from Woody to favor Buzz, just for a little while, I sighed in relief that I was, in fact, raising an Andy.

Toy Story is one of those movies that's so classic, it seems like it was always there. I can't even remember not quoting it in my daily life.


N: Nirvana *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

No 90's pop culture list would be complete without Nirvana. And I still dig 'em. Can't really explain why; I just do. I'm glad Dave Grohl has gone on to make more great music with the Foo Fighters. Too bad Kurty Boy didn't handle the good fortune he was blessed with better. I would love hear the wonderful new things he would've written and performed.


M: Martha Stewart *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

I'm not afraid to admit it---I was a rabid follower of the mother of all domestic divas. As the owner of a 1950s ranch in need of a makeover, and with my business career set aside to stay home with my kids, I was primed for a takeover by Martha Stewart Living (1991-2004) and all its hyper-domestic stylings.

During my Martha years, not a candle wick strayed from the 1/4" ideal, and rarely did a plate of Christmas cookies make its way out of my did-it-myself decorated home without a sprig of fresh holly attached to it. I eventually broke free of the Stepfordness of it all, but I'm very glad to still occasionally call upon the things that woman taught me.


L: Loveable Brit *90s Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

By "Lovable Brit" I mean Hugh Grant, of course. A lot of his movies suck, actually, but no matter what the quality of the film, it is automatically more charming with the dashingly bumbling Grant in it.

In 1994, Four Weddings and a Funeral made him an international star, and it's still my absolute favorite of his movies. But I also loved him as Edward in Sense and Sensibility (1995) and William Thacker in Notting Hill (1995).

How about you---what's your favorite Hugh Grant movie?


K: Kahlua *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

Today you get a recipe. I don't know if this was the case everywhere, but in these parts, Kahlua was a pretty hot drink in the 90's, and a coworker gave me this awesome recipe that has stood the test of time. I love it because it is both delicious and soooo easy.


1 package devil's food cake mix
(that's right---a recipe that calls for a mix!)
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Kalua
3/4 cup canola oil
1 16 oz. package chocolate chips
1 can ready-made chocolate frosting

Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees 55 - 60 minutes or according to cake mix instructions. Let cake cool and frost.  I wasn't kidding about the easy, eh? 


J: John Grisham *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

I'll be honest, besides The Firm (1991) and The Pelican Brief (1992), I'm not sure if I've read any other Grisham books, but those two were awesome enough that he made my 90's favorites list. The Pelican Brief even got me to plan a side trip to New Orleans, and The Firm gave me an excellent nickname for one of the creepy investment firms I worked for.

John Grisham's characters feel so real that even though their circumstances are way crazier than anything I've ever come close to, the experience is quite tangible. I suppose that's why this brand of thriller appeals to me so much. I love it when an author can break a mold and get hundreds and thousands of people talking about it.

Did you read Grisham? What's your favorite?

And now, please excuse this brief sideline from
retroville for another J word:

This Tweet went out yesterday:

Ahhh!  Not only is my latest manuscript going to make its way out into the world, it's going to be with a publisher about which I'm feeling all sorts of wonderful things. :)


I: Infinite Sadness *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

The 1995 Smashing Pumpkins album is actually called Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness but "S" was already taken, and so was "M", while "I" was wide open, and I wasn't not going to include Smashing Pumpkins on my 90's favorites list, so there ya go.

I love this band. Through the years they've made the jump from CD to my mp3 player to my cloud. And they've starred in many of my mix "tapes". Their sound is edgy and emotional, and Billy Corgan has such a great, unique voice. Their instrumentals are nothing short of beautiful. Below is a video of one of my favorite songs from the Infinite Sadness album.

Billy Corgan now owns a tea shop in Highland Park, IL---Madame Zuzu's. I've seen him interviewed about the place on local news. He's really into tea and it sounds like a totally fun place.


H: Home Alone *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

Can you just hear him screaming? I recently learned that the scream was only supposed to be in the movie once, but Macaulay had two such really great takes that the director decided to get it in there twice. 

Home Alone (1990) is a classic and I'm sure I'll be popping it into...whatever it is we'll be popping movies into in the future...for many, many decades to come. 

It was funny to go from watching it before being a parent, when I didn't really think about the panic the mother must've felt, to having babies, when I thought "What kind of a mother would forget her kid at home?", to the kids getting older and life getting crazy busy and me thinking, "Oh yeah, I can totally see me doing that."

Actually, it sorta happened at my son's 8th grade graduation two years ago. I, my husband, and my parents hopped out of the car happily chatting and walking toward the school when we heard a muffled shout coming from the back of my parents' SUV...we forgot to open the hatch to let my daughter out...whoops.


G: Grunge *90's Pop Culture Favorites* #AtoZchallenge

I may have come of age in the preppy 80's, but I was more than willing to jump off the overly-processed fashion train to embrace the grunge trend with worn jeans & cozy flannel---ironing optional. Thank you angsty Pacific Northwest bands who were too into your music to care about what you wore. Thank you.