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Switched for Christmas

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Image credit: Switched for Christmas, 2017

Whether you consider it a Christmas miracle or pandering gimmick, you can’t deny Hallmark set the bar high with a film featuring not just one, but TWO Candace Cameron Bures. Back when she was D.J. on Full House, crimping her hair and developing a one-day eating disorder before Kimmy’s pool party, this actress made me feel seen.  And now that she’s starring in all these Christmas movies, making cookies and wearing cute outfits, I feel seen all over again. I love planning parties, hanging with my nieces, and petting my rescue dog, so naturally I had to check out this week’s Cinema Sips pick, Switched for Christmas (Disc/Download).

I went into this expecting a standard brain-swap plot a la Freaky Friday, but was pleasantly surprised to find that no, it was just twin sisters who enjoy deceiving their friends and family. One sister likes fancy, fussy parties, while the other likes homey, sentimental parties. Each thinks the other has it easier, so they decide to switch places for the Christmas season. Because it wouldn’t be a Hallmark movie without a bland romance, the twins each find love interests, and there’s a confusing bit of name explaining at the end. I admit, I had difficulty keeping the characters straight, especially when both Candaces started dressing well and wearing their hair long and loose. Would a ponytail or side bun have been so hard??

One of the main plots involves Schlubby Candace planning a Christmas party for Fancy Candace’s real estate development firm. She enlists the help of a hunky architect (who is WAY too excited about Christmas parties), and together they make an intricate gingerbread village. Let’s enjoy a little taste of the Hallmark holidays with this Gingerbread White Russian. 

Gingerbread White Russian

2 oz Whole milk

2 oz Vanilla Vodka

2 oz Kahlua

1 1/2 tsp. Molasses

1/8 tsp Ground Ginger

Cinnamon

Sugar

Gingerbread Man Garnish

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, and pour onto a plate. Wet the rim of a glass and dip in cinnamon/sugar. Fill with ice, and set aside.  Combine milk, vodka, Kahlua, molasses, and ginger in a shaker with ice.  Shake until chilled, then strain into prepared glass.  Top with gingerbread man.

Ultimately, I liked this extended Balsam Hill ornament commercial a whole heck of a lot.  It wasn’t too sweet or sentimental, Candace looked great (as always), and we got the added casting bonus of a Center Stage alum. I call that a win, win, win.  Cheers!

Center Stage

Center Stage

Image credit: Center Stage, 2000

Ballet is having a moment. With recent books like Girl Through Glass and Astonish Me, as well as last year’s fabulous mini-series Flesh and Bone, this gorgeous art form is back in our consciousness. Sure, I could watch Black Swan and ooh and ah over the drama, the otherworldly bodies, and the sheer intensity of ballet. But what’s the fun in that? I’d rather watch Center Stage (DVD/Download), a campy teen-romance that doesn’t skimp on the shirtless guys in tights, or the so-bad-it’s-good acting. Ballet for the people, indeed.

Sure, there are some “serious issues” in Center Stage, such as eating disorders, body shaming, and disgusting feet. But all of this is balanced out by fabulously gay Erik O. Jones (O after Oprah), feisty, gum-chewing ballerina with attitude Eva Rodriguez (played by Zoe Saldana), and ballet badboy Cooper Nielson, who rides a motorcycle and dances with (gasp!) Broadway-types. And let’s not forget Maureen’s mom, part of that most frantic breed of stage moms, who utters the phrase “Why, why, WHY in God’s name WHY??!” with all the passion of a Douglas Sirk heroine. The dancing in this movie is actually quite good, as is the choreography. But what makes this a guilty pleasure for me is watching actual ballet dancers attempt serious acting. Oh, bless their hearts.

What do ballet dancers do when they want to cut loose? Head downtown for some margaritas and salsa dancing apparently. You would think since ballerinas are all of 90 pounds they would have some common sense when it comes to alcohol tolerance, but you would be wrong. Luckily, I personally don’t have this problem (something to be said for eating a cheeseburger once in awhile). While watching Center Stage, I recommend drinking a Skinny Margarita.

Skinny Margarita

1.5 oz Gold Tequila

2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1.5 oz lite orange juice (I used Trop 50)

1/2 tablespoon agave nectar

Coarse sea salt

First, rim a glass with sea salt and fill with ice. Then add all liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into prepared glass.

Skinny Margarita

Like Jodi Sawyer, this drink is sweet and salty, and will help you maintain a ballerina’s physique. Okay, maybe that last part isn’t exactly true, but it’s not too bad on the calorie count. I will never actually be as skinny as a ballerina, but that’s okay. I prefer cocktails to turnouts. Cheers!