Home Again Home Again

I don’t really know whom I am blogging for anymore. Certainly not myself, which is rather sad. If I were blogging strictly for myself, I would probably blog more and with considerably less negative emotions involved. I’m getting off track, though. So, the obvious is that I went away. I meant to write about it – I meant to blog during my trip – and of course, I mean to post about my trip now that I am home.
I mean to do a lot of things.
I rarely accomplish anything these days.

In mid-August, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe. Due to long-term unemployment, I was able to hang around for a couple of months and go see some historical shit, volunteer, and visit friends. Overall, it was a pretty good way to spend two months. It was also one of the most stressful and physically demanding feats I have accomplished, and that in and of itself was the most rewarding part of the journey for me.

I wanted to sort shit out while I was there. I wanted to get to the bottom of what truly makes me happy and where I really want to focus my energy. The answer? I have no idea.

Yup. Just because one goes away on a magical journey to foreign landscapes does not equate inner revelations about the self. At least, not in terms of blogging. I am just as clueless as ever.

Expect changes over the course of the coming months.


Goodbye and Hello

In June of 2008, I not only quit my job, but my career. I had zero idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life, but I felt oddly exhilarated at the notion of starting over. That summer, The Dark Knight was released in cinema on my birthday weekend and my love for the Batman was renewed. I had long been absent from any sort of steady online fan community, but with my new-found freedom, energy and devil-may-care gusto, I threw myself head first into the Livejournal Batman community. Between job hunting and marathons of No Reservations, I found the time to write. And, surprise of all surprises, a marvelous bunch of people actually liked what I wrote! I received valuable feedback, encouragement and developed long-lasting friendships from individuals near and far. It was through one of these stories that the name for my website “Glass of Win” came to be; a typo turned inside gag, turned proclamation from my supporters, turned anthem of my life at that point in time. It was completely through their collective support that I launched Glass of Win – first as a podcast and then as a full-fledged blog.

Believe it or not, I’ve been actively “online” since 1997. I’ve just never settled down in one particular place (though Livejournal will always be my true love). I’ve built and operated my own website before, Cyberlola, but it never quite got off the ground – mostly due to bad timing – but it was a great crash course for Glass of Win. Glass of Win had the potential for me to park it for good and dig down some roots, but after a few years I felt the familiar haze of stagnancy. IRL friends would pop by to read it and let me know privately that if they didn’t already know Glass of Win was my website, they would have never been able to tell. I’d lost my “voice.” In the subsequent efforts to reclaim my voice, I’d grow to resent Glass of Win and could not shake the desire to move on. So, I have. Along the way I’ve picked up a fandom or two (hello, Attack on Titan!), rediscovered a love I’ve held for two decades (In the name of the moon, I will punish you!), discovered I enjoy making Youtube videos, and even finally achieved that nickname I’ve always wanted (Chel, the latter syllable of my name). Implementing these new developments has been thrilling (and a little scary as I wait with baited breath to see how they are received).

While I will still primarily on food and travel, I am going to wear my Geek on my sleeve, so to speak. It’s always been there, and more so when Glass of Win initially launched, but over time it fell by the wayside. Hundreds of impersonal PR emails asking me to work for free, or promote something I never even once blogged about before weighed me down. I became swept up in trying too hard to fit into the “niche blogger” role that the “pro’s” tell you to become if you expect any amount of success. I’m done playing that game. Sure, I’m still going tackle reviews, press events and of the like, but it’ll be on my terms. Evolving into Moonstruck Quest is my official declaration: “I have zero fucks to give anymore.” From here on out, I blog for me and me alone.

Change is never easy, especially when I have met dozens upon dozens of amazing people under the Glass of Win header. That, above everything else, made me hesitate. If it’s one thing I know about friendships and networks forged from genuine passion, however, it is that they like me for me – no matter what I call my blog. For that I am eternally grateful. This is moment where true sentiment wins over and I begin to thank all of those wonderful Bat-friends (Bat-fiends!) of mine who have been here since before the beginning: Spicy, Zuzu, Gemfyre, Annemarie, Anastasia, Jack, and my dear Ade, who spent many a night picking my brain over every little detail of some silly little story on the internet, and who officially dubbed me “Glass of Win.”

And thank you to everyone out there in the world wide web for reading this farewell and greeting. Please be patient as changes continue to happen as I “unpack” and settle in. So grab a snack, wash down that glass of win, and come follow me on the next phase of the quest.

Conquering Recovery and Netflix: Week Two

A photo posted by Rachael Faught (@moonstruckq) on Dec 12, 2014 at 6:18pm PST


Last Friday I had my follow-up with my surgeon, who gave me clearance to ditch the binder I’d been issued and slowly go about my business. Emphasis is, of course, on slowly. I got a little too confident maneuvering in the kitchen and between reaching a bit further than I ought to have and the fact that I can’t wear a bra, I pulled my muscle a bit. It doesn’t help that I am still swollen and bruised – so my skin is extra sensitive. My nurse checked on me yesterday and didn’t think I did any major damage – just a bit of strain. So I took it easy today and have been focusing on a huge Mix CD project for my friend Liz. Oh, Liz. You have no idea what you got yourself into.

My mom speculates that my nerves are zinging with heightened sensitivity, and I think she may be correct. I have a particular sensitivity to my stomach regardless of major surgery, but add that on top of everything and I am a squirming mess. I just need to find a project that will keep me amply distracted and safe and not bored out of my mind. I would love to say that this is the perfect time to tackle the pile of books I have to read, but alas, most of my books are in stacks because we did not finish erecting my renovated bookshelf in time before my surgery! Yup. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Ah, well. Time to review the titles I got through in my Netflix queue this week!

Synopsis: Happy takes viewers on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy.
Opinion: I’m pretty indifferent to this documentary; it was edifying in a generic, scratch-the-surface kind of way to open up the discussion of the scientific study of how people generate happiness. I wasn’t surprised by some of their findings, but still came away feeling more informed than I had been before I began
Rated: Three stars

Spinning Plates
Synopsis: This gastronomic documentary profiles three distinctive restaurants based in very different locales: Chicago; Tucson, Arizona; and Balltown, Iowa.
Opinion: We all know I’m a sucker for a solid food documentary, and Spinning Plates is no different. This film made me hungry and pulled on my heart-strings while filling my head with knowledge. I appreciated that the filmmakers decided to profile 3 types of restaurants – not just A list Alinea or only hometown legend Brietbach’s Country Dining. I’ll not say much more other than if you’re a fan of food documentaries that profile both the establishment and the humans behind them, watch this.
Rated: Four stars

In Your Eyes
Synopsis: Two strangers on opposite ends of the country have a telepathic bond that lets each one see what the other sees, a deep connection that leads to love.
Opinion: I confess, this was not actually in my queue. Mister J put it on and I found myself sucked in despite myself. I was particularly drawn to the very accessible character of Rebecca, portrayed by a new favorite Zoe Kazan. The juxtapose of settings reminded me a lot of The Good Son, but otherwise the similarities stop there. I think overall it is a quirky cute movie and I actually gave a damn what happened to our two main characters. Give it a watch.
Rated: Four stars

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story
Synopsis: Explore the life of comic book legend and pop culture icon Stan Lee from his Depression-era upbringing through the Marvel age of comics.
Opinion: Geek girl that I am, I honestly did not know too much about Stan Lee before watching this, aside from the friction with Jack Kirby and the longevity of which he has endured at Marvel. I think the biggest surprise of all is the 60+ year marriage to his wife Jane and how, uhm, bombastic? passionate? their relationship can be. I, for one, do not get my jollies by arguing – especially with a significant other – but apparently the Lee’s do! Hah! The evolution of Marvel is the stuff of legends and I’m pleased this documentary was 85% Stan and only about 15% other people talking about Stan and Marvel.
Rated: Four stars

Dear Mr. Watterson
Synopsis: Nearly two decades after the last original “Calvin and Hobbes” was published, this documentary examines the comic strip’s enduring legacy.
Opinion: Unlike the Stan Lee documentary, this is one which features everyone but the aforementioned Watterson, a known recluse who famously opted out of merchandising his iconic comic characters. Whether you agree with his decision or not, this documentary focuses on how Calvin and Hobbes not only influenced a wide variety of people – from the average student to Watterson’s peers – but the comics industry as a whole. I really enjoyed it, and my inner 8 year old was particularly happy.
Rated: Four star

Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
Synopsis: An eccentric efficiency expert and his good-tempered wife raise 12 lively children, although their quirky methods often lead to raucous misadventures.
Opinion: I’ve never seen the remake, and only became intrigued by the original film when it popped up as a suggestion by Netflix. My mom prompted me to watch it with her one evening and upon seeing that Myrna Loy portrayed the matriarch of the Gilbreth family, I became enthused to watch it. As I get older, I find myself a touch more critical of older films due to their less-than-savory take on women and social issues. Cheaper by the Dozen had such a moment with a Planned Parenthood representative that made me roll my eyes. Regardless, the core story of actual scientist Frank Gilbreth and his industrial engineering psychologist wife Lilian is endearing as lovingly narrated by their daughter based on the book of the same name, penned by two actual Gilbreth children.
Rated: Three stars

What have you been watching as of late?

Conquering Recovery and Netflix: Week One

A photo posted by Rachael Faught (@moonstruckq) on Dec 12, 2014 at 10:31am PST


No, I haven’t forgot you, dear blog. I’ve just been busy, and then of course, major surgery. Seems to be a running theme in my life these last few years, to have a surgery between the fall/winter. Well, my latest surgery happened last week and now is the time to trudge down the long and hard road to recovery. I’ll be at home, or relatively sequestered away, for a solid 8 weeks. I’m not permitted to lift or strain myself in any way – so it’s just a lot of loafing around. On the surface seems like an amazing thing for a lot of people, but speaking as someone who has undergone many surgeries and lived a mostly shut-in life these last few years, this is torture.

So it’s time to set some goals for myself – however frivolous they may seem in the grand scheme of life. Case in point: My Netflix Queue. I currently hold 127 titles in my instant watch. Of said 127, roughly 29 are titles I have viewed previously and therefore do not count. The remaining figure is 98. It is currently my goal to complete half of this number (and since it’s odd, we’ll just round up) within 8 weeks. Get through 47 titles of my Netflix Queue. This includes:
comedy specials
TV shows (I’ve either yet to start or never completed)

49 does not divide evenly, so let’s round up again to 50, which will give me 6ish titles per week in 8 weeks to accomplish. This probably does not sound like a lot to many of you, but for me, it is. I’m also tackling some writing and holiday card projects on top of everything, so that will keep me busy, too.

Every Friday, I will round up the titles I’ve watched and check them off publicly with you with a brief synopsis and if I enjoyed them. As of today, week one of at-home recovery has been completed and here are the titles I conquered from my queue:

Carol Channing: Larger than Life
Synopsis: The astonishing life of Carol Channing unfolds in this entertaining biopic, which captures the bold Broadway legend’s outsize personality.

Opinion: I cannot even begin to describe the adorableness of this documentary, nor will I even begin to explain why it made me cry like a little bitch. Just watch it. Even if you hardly know who Carol Channing is, just watch it. Rated: five stars

Miss Annie Rooney
Synopsis: A poor inventors daughter (Shirley Temple) falls head over heels for the son of a millionaire rubber magnate. But joining his daunting social circle proves to be difficult.

Opinion: I used to be such a Shirley Temple fan, but I truthfully had never watched any of her teenager movies until now. As this film is the only one available on Netflix, I gave it a go. I don’t think the latter half of the description is accurate; this is more of a case of a girl whose self-serving father keeps screwing up her chances. I wasn’t a big fan, to be honest. Rated: two and a half stars.

The Restaurateur
Synopsis: In this foodie documentary, director Roger M. Sherman shadows restaurateur Danny Meyer in an attempt to find out what fuels his business cravings.

Opinion: I think the Netflix synopsis is somewhat misleading, or vague anyway. This documentary does shadow Danny Meyer, but its main focus is the two restaurants Danny is bringing to life in Manhattan. What goes on behind the scenes of these two very different restaurants from conceptualization to debut and a little beyond is really the plot. Rated: Four stars

Inside: LEGO
Synopsis: The famous colorful building bricks company nearly becane a pile of plastic rubble. Here’s how they re-built the dream.

Opinion: What an interesting story. I honestly had no idea that LEGO was ever in trouble, so this was insightful. I have a friend of the family that works for LEGO in Denmark, so this gave me a glimpse into his job. My only complaint is that it was far too short! Rated: five stars

Advanced Style
Synopsis: This documentary profiles seven stylish New York City seniors who disprove the notion that advanced years and glamour are mutually exclusive. Brought to us the blog of the same name.

Opinion: What a fabulous documentary! I am tickled every time I see a fabulously unique and stylish elderly woman walking around town, and I look up to these women to continue be as fabulous as I can no matter what age I am! Rated: five stars

Sushi: The Global Catch
Synopsis: This documentary traces the history of sushi from its origins as Japanese street food to its current status as an internationally popular cuisine.

Opinion: Once again, a misleading Netflix description. This documentary does touch on the history of sushi, but its main focus is the sustainability of bluefin tuna and the consequences of supply and demand in the sushi world. I think every sushi enthusiast should watch it and become more aware of the problem at hand. This is definitely an issue consumers are going to have the most impact with. Rated: five stars

I hope you will join me every Friday as I cross off another week of recovery and another week of reaching my Netflix goal.

The Big ReBranding

Blank Greeting Cards

A lot has been going on over here at Glass of Win – or rather, behind the scenes since new material hasn’t shown up on here for nearly two weeks. Many people have already noticed on my social media outlets, and I’ve only loosely spoken to a few people about it in private, but right here, right now I am confirming that yes – I am rebranding Glass of Win.

I started slowly, to first see if I liked the name and if I could get balance my two worlds – or, more importantly, if I want to keep these two worlds separate. Within two weeks I found my answers:

1. Yes, I like the name I have chosen: Moonstruck Quaint (shortened from Quaintrelle, which was a mouthful)

2. Not…really.

When I launched Glass of Win in 2009, the blog was a catch-all for all facets of my interests. About a year later, I shaved down the blog to focus solely on food, events and travel. I struggled greatly to maintain my unique voice and lost it along the way. Over the last year I have desperately tried to gain it back and really show off my personality, but I realized there are so many facets of my personality that I have denied on Glass of Win and that was why I’d lost my voice in the first place. I want to incorporate these topics back into my blogging and build upon my already existing audience.

What does this mean for my media contacts? Nothing! Contact me. I may not take on as many food related blogging as I did before, but the quality will be amplified.

What does this mean for my readers? Only that you will be getting to know me on a deeper level as I let all my geeky glory hang out.

What does this mean for all of the food/travel content? It’s staying and will continue to be a dominant feature on Moonstruck Quaint ~ I’m just adding more categories to enjoy!

Why don’t you just add those categories to Glass of Win? This is where I kept circling back in indecisiveness, but it has become evident that I have become quite disenchanted with what Glass of Win is and I feel “stuck” here, so to speak. A new name means a new opportunity to not only build on what I have established here, but to usher in newcomers who will view my blog and YouTube Channel with fresh eyes. I need to continue my journey under a new name; a name that resonates where I am in my life currently and how I want to identify myself as a blogger and individual. The name “Glass of Win” reflected where I was in 2009; now, five years later, Moonstruck Quaint is where I am.

When will the URL change? This is still a mystery to me, especially considering all of the content I have here. I’m doing research still about moving said content as seamlessly as possible, but my best guess is sometime close to the New Year. I have a surgery on December 2nd and pending the outcome and recovery process will determine the URL switch.

In the meantime, I’ll be a lot more active building Moonstruck Quaint content up on social media, especially YouTube – but updates here on Glass of Win will still roll in.

Thank you everyone for being part of Glass of Win! I hope you enjoy Moonstruck Quaint just as much – or more!

Binge Watching to Wellness

Out sick today...
credit: Diane Main

This summer cold had best kick itself by Thursday, because not only do I have an appointment with another surgeon at 10am, but it’s my first official evening at Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival! Last year, I ate, drank and was thoroughly merry throughout my 2-day adventure, but this time, I’m going bigger and longer: Four days, four events, all of them huge. I’ll be tag-teaming with Tanaya again and hopefully some other food bloggers will be found in the melee. It’s a huge event I’ve been looking forward to all year, and no cold is going to stop me!

In the meantime, however, I’ve had the task of keeping myself occupied while trying to recover. I can only focus on work so much, needing longer periods of time to just zone out or rest. Here is what I’ve been doing to keep myself occupied while still getting rest:

  • Made chicken stock. OK, a bit labor intensive BUT I had all of my vegetable scrapes separated and in a reused container, ready to go and get roasted along with the chicken carcass in my fridge. The filtering process at the end was a bit of a chore, but I used a second wind to get it done. Now I have lovely, flavorful homemade chicken stock in case I need some homemade chicken noodle soup.
  • Re-watching The 10th Kingdom. In one day. Whew. My love for Scott Cohen, Dianne Wiest and fairy tales kept me powering through that one.
  • Going through photos that need to be edited, chucking out the crap photos. I don’t feel right enough in the head to actual edit, seeing as I do not have all of my wits about me. But this is a good head start.
  • Goofing around with my Attack on Titan Nendoroid figures:
  • //instagram.com/p/r3PrlOo-Vx/embed/

  • Organizing the living room. Mom has been painting and move furniture in preparation for our forthcoming sofa (insert squeal of excitement here), but I have been picking up the smaller stuff and putting it back into order, like shelving books properly.
  • Eating a mega-fuck ton of spicy food via Yunnan Garden, as recommended by Minty.
  • //instagram.com/p/r0keMRo-XL/embed/

  • Playing a lot of Dragon Coins. Like, an embarrassing amount.
  • Creating immune-boosting green drinks. If you have a recipe of your own, please leave me the ingredients in the comments!
  • Reading. I’d wanted to whiz through A Song of Ice and Fire this summer, but I’ve been slowly trudging the third book, as it’s packed with all sorts of high’s and lows I will need ample time to savor/recover from. I have also been re-reading The Nightrunner Series, by Lynn Flewelling; she concluded the series this year (thankfully I have not read the last two, so there are still some surprises awaiting me!).
  • and of course, what sure-fire way to a full recovery would be complete without:

  • BINGE WATCHING TO WELLNESS! Time to plow through titles in my Netflix queue and on my DVD shelf. On the agenda today & tomorrow:
  • – Clueless
    – Sushi: The Global Catch
    – Pollyanna, my go-to “I am sick, help me, mummy!” movie I always watch when I’m under the weather.

    Adventures of Baron Munchausen ~ My brother always played Terry Gilliam movies when I was not feeling well, and between this one and Time Bandits, I think a nice nod to Robin Williams is in order.

    – Somm
    – Lewis Black: Old Yeller
    – Center Stage ~ Ugh. It’s horrible, but I love it.
    The Babysitters Club TV series ~ I am morbidly curious if it holds up.

    OK, the jury is out on this one.

    – I am Divine
    – Malcolm in the Middle
    – Manor House / 1900 House / Regency House (PBS series)

    I think this is a great start!

    What do you watch when you’re sick? Do you have any recommendations for me?

    featured image credit Anna Gutermuth

    Steffie at the Hitchin’ Post

    credit: Brian Jeffery Beggerly

    I’ve been quiet around here for a few reasons, chiefly that my best girl from high school, Miss Steffie Love, is getting herself hitched this Tuesday evening. I’m over the moon happy for her and her intended, and have been busy scrambling to prepare myself for what will be my third wedding of this year, and fifth go as a member of the wedding party. Please hang tight, dear readers ~ and send my girl Steffie all of your best wedlock wishes!