Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Most Important Thing About the Oscars

So I just got an email from my dad asking what gives with me not posting here in over a week.  I'm doing fine, I just seem to post a lot less when Lee is gone.  And, yesterday I was a good girl and worked on my last essay for my class--got two pages written out of 4 to 6.  The good thing about this last essay is that I found a bunch of useful stuff for it while I was researching for my third essay, so I was able to start writing without doing a whole lot of research first.

Moving on.  The Oscars were Sunday night or, if you live in England like me, they were on in the wee hours of Monday morning.  I admit, I stayed up past two watching the red carpet show because really, the most important thing about the Oscars is what everyone is wearing, am I right or am I right?  (I recorded the actual ceremony and watched it the next day.)  So for something fun and different, and because I think most online fashion critics are completely bonkers, I thought I'd do my own Oscars fashion report card.  I got all my pics off of Yahoo, though of course now I can't find the specific gallery I was looking at and I accidentally closed that tab yesterday.  Oh well, you can find lots of fashion galleries out there if you're curious.  Or just keep reading :)

Just to be up front:  I really don't have any background in fashion design or anything like that, and to be honest I was slightly disappointed there weren't more totally hideous dresses this year that I could mock.  I like classic lines and lots of color, but that's my opinion and you can disagree with me if you like.  I might throw M&Ms at you, but you can disagree with me if you like.


Let's start with Adele, who looks fantastic.  She's not a teeny stick figure like so many of the actresses are (just wait till we get there), but she looks classy and feminine in this dress.  Her hair is kinda big but I grew up in Texas, we like that kind of thing, and she did it right.  Adele gets an A+++.


And here is Amanda Seyfried.  First of all, I loathe and detest the color of this dress because it ISN'T a color.  What the heck is with this dirty dishwater blecchy non-color trend?  Total UGH.  Second, I know that Amanda has a bosom, but watching her on the red carpet video, every time she moved the dress kind of creased and made it look like she had nothing up there.  Sorry Amanda, you get a D.


Which brings us to Anne Hathaway (you might notice that my pictures kinda posted in order of first names for the most part).  I read a story that Anne had chosen something totally different but changed her mind at the last minute when Amanda Seyfried sent her a pic of what she was wearing, and it was too close to Anne's choice.  Um, Anne...you failed with Plan B.  I think she's growing her hair back in a bit so we'll give her a pass there, but this dress has the world's most unfortunate darts that had everyone asking if she was cold, and it makes her look like she has the figure of a 12-year-old boy.  How is that sexy or feminine?  And the super pale pink washes her out.  Anne gets an F.  Had she *not* won the Oscar for her role as Fantine, then I'd feel bad for her and give her a D+, but since she's got to be all thrilled about her Oscar win I can be mean and say her dress definitely deserves an F.


Didn't Amy Adams used to have red hair?  And I seem to remember that one year she had this beautiful green gown for the Oscars, which was so much better than this dove gray froufrou thing.  I'd like it better if the color was more saturated (even black would be better, though I'd go for an actual color) and less next door to dishwater.  I give her a C+.


The British commentators weren't huge fans of Catherine Zeta-Jones' dress here, but I like it.  She is rocking that gold color and let's face it, she'd look awesome in pretty much anything.  Well, maybe not that thing Anne Hathaway wore.  As always, Catherine's raven locks are flawless--she seemed to figure out what worked for her pretty early on and she always looks beyond fabulous.  I'm kinda digging that one-shoulder red dress behind her too, to the left of Mr. Photo Bomb.  Catherine gets an A.


I think that Charlize Theron is also growing her hair out after shaving her head for a role, and her 'do here reminds me of every boy I went to school with in elementary school.  As for the dress, if it has to be a not-color, I like the white because it doesn't just blend in with her skin tone.  Not really the kind of silhouette I like myself, but she's kinda making it work.  Still wish she'd had some color at least in her makeup--a nice rosy lip color would make me like this better.  Charlize gets a B+.


Honestly, I have no idea who this is and I picked this picture just because I liked her name--Fan Bingbing.  She gets points here for a bold color choice and a lovely updo, but I'm not a huge fan of the dress itself.  The skirt is kinda flopped over funky in the front and something about the dress just kind of seems odd, structure-wise.  Fan Bingbing gets a C.


This is Gloria Reuben, and the only reason I know her is from the first season of 1-800-Missing with Catarina Scorsone.  I love the color on this and the bottom of her skirt kind of reminds me of my wedding bouquet of deep purple hydrangeas.  I'd never be able to walk in a mermaid dress like this, but she's making it look darned good.  A for Gloria.  It's possible I'm biased because I like purple.


Halle Berry said she wanted a Bond Girl kind of dress and I think she did that, it does look like it belongs in a Bond movie.  This kinda looks like the dress equivalent of a guy's power suit.  The one thing I don't like?  Her hair!  Hello, bedhead!  Find a brush, Halle.  You get a B- because of that 'do.


Helen Hunt got some flak on the gallery I was looking at because this dress doesn't cost thousands of dollars and it's wrinkled.  Ok sure, she could definitely have used a pass with one of those portable steamer things before she hit the red carpet, but she coulda gotten wrinkled on the ride to the theater.  The color is gorgeous, it flatters her figure, and lets that gigundor necklace take the spotlight.  Helen gets a B+ from me because I'm imagining this wrinkle-free.


So Jamie Foxx is looking pretty dapper here, but I chose this pic more for his daughter Corinne because I love her dress, it was one of my favorites.  It's got an understated elegance to it, fits her very well and I love the subtle detailing on the bodice.  Great jewelry with it too, nothing super ostentatious but totally classy.  Mr. Foxx, your daughter is totally gorgeous and gets an A+.


I'm still not sure how much I like Jennifer Lawrence's dress here, even before it tried to eat her as she went up to accept her award.  (She gave my favorite acceptance speech, she just seemed so dazed about it all, like it was a real surprise, and I love her reaction when Jack Nicholson interrupted her interview later in the night.  I wanna be friends with her.)  I suppose if there's anywhere that you could wear a really over-the-top huge gown, it would be the Oscars.  The way it's fitted through the bodice and hips shows that she's got a figure not reminiscent of a 12-year-old boy, so extra points for that.  I still kinda wish it was a more vibrant color though.  Jennifer gets a B+.


Jennifer #2 gets some points for not wearing her signature black, though I think that if she'd had half the material on the skirt removed it would look better.  I think her dress is trying to eat her too.  She also got some flak about her hairdo, but she's hardly the only one with her hair down, and c'mon, that's her signature 'do so leave it alone, peeps.  Jennifer Aniston gets a C+.


My mom and I had diverging opinions about Jennifer #3's look.  I love the color, but I'm not sure I'm going for the excess of ruffles on the back.  Meanwhile, Mom loved the ruffles and picked this as her favorite dress of the night.  Hmm.  I give Jennifer Garner a B+. 


Jessica Chastain's dress is something completely different with the all-over beading.  They were talking about it during the red carpet show and it's a copper color to match her hair with the beads on it.  While it's a step up from dirty dishwater, I still would like this much better if it was a more vibrant color.  She'd look awesome in anything between blue and green...a deep teal or turquoise would be utterly stunning.  So if her dress were exactly the same but teal, I'd give her an A++, but as is, she gets an A- or possibly a B+.


Kelly Rowland has one of those dresses with the weird structural element and it makes me wonder if one side of her chest was trying to make a getaway just before the picture was taken.  If the bodice got switched out for something less weird, this dress would be oh so much better.  As is, Kelly gets a C.


Kristin Chenoweth also did black and white, but her dress is totally awesome.  The beading on the bodice has a pattern reminiscent of peacock feathers and I love it.  The one thing I'd change is her severe hairdo--it's pulled back so tightly I kind of wonder if her hairdresser was trying to give her a free facelift.  Even so, this was one of my favorite Oscars dresses this year, so she still gets an A.


That brings us to the WORST Oscars dress of the night, courtesy of Melissa McCarthy.  I think she stole her hairdo from Mufasa on the Lion King, and if the dress was black I would seriously question if it was made out of trash bags.  I know Melissa is a bigger lady, and there's a lot fewer options out there for women of size (particularly in Hollywood), but c'mon, Adele knocked it out of the park.  Melissa gets an F.  Possibly even a G or an H.  Bleah!


Naomi Watts' dress looks like she stole it from the set of The Fifth Element (I totally love that movie, but the clothes in it were totally gonzo).  I love the gunmetal color but I'd like it better without that weird top.  She gets a C.


Nicole Kidman gets extra points for not going with a dress that matches her skin tone and hair color.  Seriously, I've seen pics of her where she's all one color from head to toe.  Love the gold swirl pattern on the skirt, though I wonder if that design on her belly is a Batman belt buckle.  Nicole gets an A-.


Norah Jones looks great in this, love the one-shoulder look and the gunmetal color, which is more interesting to me than your basic black.  The tone-on-tone stripes give it a nice texture without being in-your-face annoying.  She gets an A.


Pretty sure Octavia Spencer stole this dress from my 1987 Peaches 'n' Cream Barbie Doll.  However, the dress does look pretty good on her--classic silhouette and she looks beautiful even though she's not a stick figure either...I still like Adele's look better, but Octavia Spencer has done a very nice job on her look here.  I'd like it better, again, if it were a different color, but at least it's not dishwater or the same color as her skin tone.  Octavia gets a B+ to an A-.


I love the bodice on Olivia Munn's dress, but that uber-weird skirt tanks it.  Put that bodice on a nice A-line red skirt of the same material that's trying to strangle her here, and it would be an A.  As it is, it's a D.  And she needs a necklace.


Quvenzhane Wallis looks totally cute and age-appropriate here, I love her dog purse because hello, she's 9.  She can do that.  My main question is how long did it take her to learn how to spell her first name?  She gets an A.


Reese Witherspoon always looks good on the red carpet too; that royal blue color was popular this year (at least with the ladies who chose real colors and not dishwater or black).  Still, the skirt structure looks a little weird, though maybe it was trailing behind her on the red carpet and she twisted it when she stopped for the picture.  Borderline B-.


Something about this dress on Salma Hayek makes me think she'd be the Bond Girl assassin.  I like that it's velvet, but I still think she's here undercover to kill James Bond.  She gets a B and I hope she doesn't come after me next.  Man, I give a lot of B's.


I think that Robin Roberts' super-short hairdo is probably related to her health battles, but she is totally ROCKIN' it.  That blue is gorgeous on her and I only wish my arms looked that good.  You go, lady.  One of my favorite dresses of the night, A++. 


If you don't know this girl, she's Samantha Barks a.k.a. Eponine on Les Miserables.  I am not a fan of her dress here, she looks like another member of the 12-year-old boy club.  I liked the other dress she wore much better, for the performance of One More Day during the ceremony but I couldn't find any pics of it.  It was high-cut and long-sleeved but still not matronly, and it was a lovely forest green color.  She gets a D for this one and a B+ for the other one.  As an aside, I like Amanda Seyfried just fine, but when I was watching Les Mis, I kinda wanted Marius to dump Cosette in favor of Eponine.  I loved her in that movie, though I'm fairly sure that my pinky is bigger around than her waist.  But what a voice.


I want to like this, because Sandra Bullock is the bee's knees, but it's not one of my favorites.  I don't like the sheer panels in the skirt.  Still, she's Sandra Bullock, so extra points for that, and she gets a B-.


I have to agree with the review I read of Zoe Saldana's dress in that it's got too much going on between the floral bodice, the belt, the bow, and the detail at the hem.  If she had a plain bodice (or even a beaded one, but not that floral thing) and ditched the bow and belt, this would be much, much better.  She gets extra points for mentioning The Last Unicorn when interviewed on the red carpet, but she's still stuck with a C.


For my second least-favorite dress of the evening, see Kristen Stewart and her messy hair.  Seriously, huge awards show and you can't be bothered to do your hair?  The dress is a mess too.  I read a review that said KStew looked like she'd either just had a hissy fit or she was about to start one; I agree.  She gets an F and should be made to go to remedial fashion classes with Melissa McCarthy.


I included this picture because I just really like Kate Caphsaw's hair here.  I don't really have any commentary about anything else :)


Sorry to be ending on a down note here, but Renee Zellweger's dress ain't working.  She looks like a linebacker here, I wonder how her teensy legs can hold up that upper body.  I'm sure it's partially the angle at which the picture was taken, but I am unimpressed anyway.  She gets a D-.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today's Post is Brought to You By the Letter Tea

It seems like every time Lee is gone for more than a week, I get the itch to reorganize and go through stuff while he's gone.  I don't know why, it's just a thing.  Not necessarily huge upheavals in where things go, but kind of streamlining things...last time it was the shoe closet and some things in the kitchen.  This last week, I'm happy to say I went through my closet and I've got a rather large stack of old clothes to donate next time we get a request (the charities here often leave a bag at your house for old clothes and other items, and then they come back to pick it up a day or two later so I'm just waiting for the next one).  Having just bought a bunch of new clothes on my trip to the States, it seemed like a good time to get rid of some old ones I don't (or can't...BLAH!) wear anymore.

I spent some time today kind of picking up the house (mostly downstairs) and vacuuming up incredible amounts of dog hair.  Think I'll leave off straightening up things upstairs until tomorrow because it'll probably be more work ;)  Seems like my craft room is in constant need of tidying up.  But while I was making blueberry muffins today, I decided to empty out my tea cabinet and see what all kinds of tea I have, because I have a bad habit of always reaching for what's on top.


So I wonder if anyone is planning on staging a tea intervention yet.  How many types do you think I have?  Ok, I had to count.  It's between 50 and 55.  I've got a few boxes that are variety packs, and still in the cabinet I have three types of loose-leaf tea (two of which I bought in Salzburg and the labels are all in German so I'm not 100% sure what they are but they smelled awesome).  Mostly I do tea bags.


These are all the caffeine-free teas I have.  After a year of trial and error, I can say with authority that I prefer black teas, which DO generally have caffeine in them, but every once in a while I run across a caffeine-free herbal type that I really like.  My favorite one of these is some Twinings blueberry and apple.  Most of the caffeine-free types I usually drink with honey in them, whereas the caffeinated ones I prefer with milk and sugar.  I discovered last week when I was out of milk that I really don't like Ceylon tea without milk, and Ceylon is one of my favorite black teas.


Ok, so I may have given up Cokes, but I still like my caffeine.  Though honestly, I don't drink tea every day, just when I'm cold (but if it's a really cold day, I might drink multiple cups in a day).  I think my very favorite type of caffeinated tea is Ceylon orange pekoe, but I also really like Assam, wild berry, and the breakfast tea varieties (English, Irish, Scottish).  I like 'em strong too, I usually let them steep at least five minutes.  I still have several boxes I haven't even cracked open yet, so I'm planning on leaving them out on the counter for at least a little bit so I remember to try some new teas.  Of course, I just made myself a cuppa and what did I get?  Ceylon.  So my try-new-teas plan hasn't quite taken off yet.

It's no secret that I'm a sci-fi geek and I love both Star Wars and Star Trek, but no matter how cool Captain Picard is, I can't get on board with his signature tea--Earl Grey.  I've tried it several times, trying a couple different ways to sweeten it, with and without milk, and BLEH every time.  Lucky for me, Earl Grey is my friend Karen's favorite tea, so I gave her all that I had left (except for one variety pack, in case she wants tea next time she's at my house).  I do still have quite a bit of Lady Grey though, which has a more citrusy flavor to it.  Need to try Lady Grey again and see if I like her better than her husband.

Well, my ridiculous tea collection shall be put to good use next month:  I'm hosting a Mad Hatter tea party.  Think I should do any more tea shopping beforehand?  I only have Russian Caravan in loose-leaf...and I don't have any Gunpowder tea....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Birthday to My One and Only!

Just wanted to say happy birthday to my better half, the light of my life, the cream in my coffee...if I drank coffee.  I'd say the milk in my tea but that sounds weird and no one ever says that.

I love you pieces sweetheart!  You're my favoritest person in the whole wide world and I can't wait till you get back home because I miss you lots.


So there's Lee with our girl Sadie.  We got some good news about Sadie today:  she had what will be her last visit to the vet, barring any further injuries.  Now we just have to work on taking her for walks every day and strengthening her leg up again.  Even better:  she's been given the green light to go up and down the stairs so long as we keep her from charging up like Teddy Roosevelt on San Juan Hill.  This makes me happy beyond all reason because I've been feeling guilty leaving Sadie downstairs by herself so much (I can't carry her up the stairs like Lee does, and he's not here), and so I've been trying to spend more time down there with her and consequently not getting things done upstairs.  But today she got to accompany Vader and me upstairs and I finally got my essay written for class.  Good thing too, since it was due today.

So yeah.  I think I'd describe my mood as buoyant.  Giddy, even.  It's the little things in life that give the greatest pleasure:  having Sadie upstairs, tacos for dinner, rewatching The Princess Bride.  Oh yes, there is and never will be a better movie to watch on Valentine's Day than The Princess Bride.  I got some weird looks from Sadie because I kept quoting along with the movie (Mom says that's highly annoying and she won't watch this movie with me anymore.  Or The Empire Strikes Back.  And probably Ghostbusters.)  It was so wonderful and it's been way too long since I last watched it, so I have a feeling that I'll be having a repeat performance tomorrow.

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day, and happy birthday again to my own Valentine.  Love you pieces, sweetheart!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Snow What? Part 2

Finally back with the second part of the snow pictures.  For some reason, even though I only go to the gym for about an hour a day, it seems to take up a lot more time than that!  That's my excuse for now, at any rate.  At least I'm hitting the gym, though last week I was sore from Monday pretty much till Sunday : )  As soon as I quit being sore, it was time to go back to the Monday night torture session really tough class.

So, SNOW.


One more branch in my backyard...I thought it looked kinda neat?


And this little cutie pie is my sweet Vader, sticking his tongue out at me : )  Ok, really he'd been eating snow (not the yellow kind, though he made a lot of that).


These trees are just on the other side of our backyard fence.  There's another picture of them coming up in a sec, but it looks like the pics loaded in a weird order because...


There's a spiderweb in the middle.  And the spiderweb was on our front porch.


Hey look, more trees!  And that's our fence on the right side of our backyard.  There's a farm behind our house that you can kinda see if you look out the upstairs windows.


Frosty plants!


So these are totally out of order, because it keeps going from front yard to backyard and back again.  This thing is a wind chime kind of deal that sits next to the pool.  Every so often one of the dogs will brush against it as they go past and it does make a pretty sound, though usually the wind doesn't really make it sound.  Which is odd, because we get a lot of wind sometimes.


Back in the front yard (actually out somewhere in the village)...it's like a naturally flocked Christmas tree!


I just kinda think it's fascinating how the snow/frost/ice/whatever highlights everything.



This house is a ways down the block from us and I can't remember why I thought this picture was cool enough to include, but the next one makes up for it.


This one might be my favorite one I took on the snow days.  It's a decorative part of a fence on a house across the street from the church (the bigger church, not the little one just up the road from me).


And this is part of a bench that was placed in honor of services to Feltwell performed by two people whose last names are Broadwater and Storey.  But I liked how the village name was frosted on the top of the bench.



Two more frosted leafy outline pics and that's all she wrote for the snow we had last month : )