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9.30.2016

What I'm Watching - Fall Network Premieres

It's that time a year again when all the network TV shows return. I went through the list, and was surprised to find I actually hardly watch any network TV anymore. The TV game has really changed, huh? Almost everything I watch now is on Cable, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.

In fact, the only returning network shows I currently watch are: The Big Bang Theory (CBS), New Girl (Fox), Scream Queens (Fox), Modern Family (ABC), and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW).

I'm pretty particular about picking up new shows, but there are a couple of new network shows that actually peaked my interest enough this premiere season to give them a try.

First up, NBC's The Good Place.
I'm a big Kristen Bell fan, so I was hoping this one would be as fun as it looked. Turns out, it is! The Good Place is funny and doesn't take itself at all seriously. Plus, it's colorful and innocent and one the entire family can enjoy together. I'm definitely adding this one to my roster.

Next, also on NBC, This Is Us.

I decided to give This Is Us a try because I love Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia (Hello, Jessie from Gilmore Girls!!) The first episode was probably the best premiere I've seen in some time. It sorta blew me away, actually. It was truly touching and completely unexpected. These heavy family dramas seem a bit tired to me (not really my jam anymore), but I enjoyed the premiere enough to give this one a few episodes shot.

Finally, again on NBC, Timeless.
I'm a sucker for a good time travel plot, so I'm intrigued by Timeless. I haven't seen this one yet, as it premieres next week (Mon, 10/3), but I'll tune-in. The costumes alone might make it worth it for me. We'll see if it Timeless ends up being worth my time though (see what I did there?)

Anyway, other than these, there weren't any other network shows I was interested in trying out. I've still got The Walking Dead on AMC and The Mindy Project starting up on Hulu soon, so I think my TV plate is full enough. Speaking of Hulu, that's where I watched The Good Place and This Is Us. It's so nice to not worry about when anything is actually on TV. I just turn on Hulu and almost all my favorite network shows are there. It's literally impossible to miss a TV show these days.

Are there any new TV shows you're excited about this season? What are your old favorites? Is anyone watching Season 2 of Scream Queens? It makes absolutely no sense; but is still making me laugh, so I'm sticking with it for now (plus, hello! John Stamos!). Let's talk TV!

9.28.2016

Book Report - The Butterfly Garden

I recently read The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. Here's what I thought.
After being rescued from her kidnapper, a woman, known simply as Maya, recounts to investigators her harrowing ordeal. Held captive in a beautiful garden, her and the other young female captives have each had their backs intricately tattooed to resemble a different butterfly. Their captor, who they refer to as the Gardener, is a fiendish and calculated wealthy man obsessed with preserving his specimens for all eternity. The more she shares though, the more questions the agents seem to have for her. Exactly who is Maya, and why is she so reluctant to tell them the entire truth?

For another free book from Amazon Prime, this was a great read. It was super creepy and kept my interest throughout. There's a mystery aspect to the story, yes, but it's not a high intensity thriller by any means. It's quiet and disturbing and strangely beautiful. It really delves into the characters of the story, and you learn so much about each individual girl in the garden. It focuses a lot on their bonds and friendships and how they need each other to cope with their horrendous circumstances.

The book starts after Maya has been rescued and the kidnapper identified, so the mystery elements are more how they escape, who survives, and Maya's secrets rather than a whodunit story. It kept me fully engaged throughout and maybe more importantly really activated my imagination - it's a very visual story. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking to myself this would make an excellent movie.

If you're looking for an interesting and creepy read (especially as we're just about to enter October); I highly recommend checking out The Butterfly Garden.

9.26.2016

Yum! - Madeleines

I finally did something I have been meaning to do for years - I baked Madeleines!!

I had this idea years ago that since there was a little cookie with the same name as our little cookie; that I was going to learn to make Madeleines for Madeleine. They would be her signature cookie, and I would serve them at all the parties we'd have for her throughout her life.

Back in 2011 (yes, you read that right), I found a recipe I wanted to try (this one here), printed it out, and bought the trays (similar here). Then, I just never did it. Everything just got stuck in a drawer and life went on.

However, it was still something that I've always wanted to do. I even mentioned it in my 5-Year Plan post. (Geeze, has it been 2+ years since I wrote that post already? I need to get going on that.)

Flash forward to last week, when Bill declared he was going to make the Madeleines. He had found the recipe I had printed up while straightening the kitchen and noticed we had all the ingredients to make them except for a lemon, which he picked up at the store right before making this declaration.

Like the sweet and ever supporting wife I am; I pretty much told him, "Like hell are you going to make the Madeleines!"

I said I would make them that week on a night I had more time. Then, I seriously messed up my back and could hardly walk for a few days, so baking was out of the question. When the next weekend rolled around and I still hadn't made them; I finally said to Bill that we should make them together after the kids went to bed.

So, Saturday night, Bill and I (finally) made Madeleines!!
They were super fast and easy to make, plus they tasted great - light and spongy with a nice lemony flavor! Like most things I put off for whatever reason, when we were done I was all, "Why did I wait so long to do this?!?"
In the morning I let Madeleine taste them, and she gave me a thumbs up and said they tasted good.

A big thank you to Bill here. I don't know where he gets his energy and can-do attitude, but I'm eternally grateful for it. I'm great at coming up with ideas, lists, and plans; but 9 times out of 10 he's the one that makes it happen.

Have you been putting anything off forever, or have you ever finally done something you had been putting off for ages?

9.23.2016

Let's Go To The Movies - Bridget Jones's Baby

A couple of girlfriends and I went to see Bridget Jones's Baby last weekend.

Bridget Jones is back! It's her 43rd birthday; and while her career is actually on-track, her personal life is as big a mess as ever. After having steamy one-night stands (just a week apart) with first a handsome American named Jack (Patrick Dempsey) and then her ex, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth); Bridget comes to learn she's pregnant. She now has 9 months to figure out who the father is, but maybe more important she needs to decide which one she actually wants to spend the rest of her life with.

She may have traded in her diary for an iPad, but this is the same old Bridget Jones all us romantic comedy fans have adored since the original Bridget Jones's Diary came out in 2001. It was so nice to see Renee Zellweger onscreen again along with the entire Bridget Jones family - minus Hugh Grant, which was fine with me, as Patrick Dempsey easily stepped into the shoes of possible love interest just fine.

Also, can we just take a second to note how well Patrick Dempsey is aging? Seriously, he just gets better and better looking.

But, I digress.

In a lot of ways, Bridget Jones's Baby was a lot of fun. I laughed and enjoyed myself. There was a lot of unrealistic stuff going on, but I was willing to suspend reality in exchange for the most satisfying of happy endings.

So, without giving away the ending, let's talk about it, as that's where it all fell flat for me. We all know Bridget is supposed to end up with Mark Darcy, right? I'm not saying she does or doesn't, but we can all agree that that is Bridget Jones's happy ending. So, for me at least, there were only two outcomes that would have pleased me. The first, the baby is Jack's, but she still ends up with Darcy, and the second, the baby is Darcy's and she ends up with Darcy.

When the ending finally came upon us, I was totally thrilled. It made perfect sense, and then all of a sudden...just like that...it didn't. There was a sort of last minute, not twist exactly, but clarification, if you will, that had my friends and I all like, "Wait, what...oh, okay, I guess". It wasn't bad exactly, it just didn't make sense anymore.  It went from a totally happy and satisfying ending to an "only in the movies" ending that sort of soured the overall film for me. I didn't hate Bridget Jones's Baby, but I did leave slightly disappointed, which is a real shame because they had me until that last moment.

What this film really did for me was make me miss the original. They showed little clips throughout and I can't believe how young they all were! I think I'm going to sit down soon and re-watch Bridget Jones's Diary (currently on Netflix) and just pretend films two and three never happen. The more I think about, they really weren't needed, and you know why? Because Bridget Jones's Diary, to quote Mark Darcy, "I like you very much - just as you are."

9.22.2016

2016 Emmys Fashion - Shimmer and Shine

Let's put this year's Emmys fashion recap to bed with one last post showcasing all those sparkly gowns we all love so much. Here we go!

Heidi Klum in Michael Kors
Heidi Klum really loves her a needlessly complicated gown, so this dress came as no surprise. It's better than a lot of stuff I've seen her wear, but I would have preferred if it had been either entirely long sleeved or entirely spaghetti straps. This one of each thing is not working for me. Also, can we just get rid of all cut-outs already? Other than that, the color and fabric were flattering and shoes, jewelry, hair, and make-up were all on point too. Not bad, Heidi.

Sofia Vergara in Atelier Versace
Well, this all seems to be in order. Sofia Vergara is another one that continually wears the same look on the red carpet. For her, it's figure-hugging mermaid gowns. I wasn't a fan of the color - or rather the lack of color. Something bright and bold would have made for a far less forgettable look. The jewelry and hair were the wrong choices as well. I'm afraid this look was a miss for me. 

Emilia Clarke in Atelier Versace
The fit on Emilia Clarke's nude gown is flawless. It's seriously perfect. Another color might have made the look a bit more dramatic; but as far as nude gowns go, this is one of the best I've seen. It almost perfectly matches her skin tone. Her make-up looks great, but I think she could have piled on a bit more jewelry and maybe worn her hair down too. As is, it's still a great look though. Nice job, Emilia.

Judith Light
Judith Light looked fantastic in this silver and nude dress (couldn't find the designer). It fits her great and has a lot of visual interest going on. It's age-appropriate, but also sexy. She totally rocked it. Great job, Judith!

America Ferrera in Jenny Packham
America Ferrera's navy blue number looks far to heavy to be held up by two little spaghetti straps. It's a pity because I really liked the color and sequined fabric. Her hair and make-up look fine, but the jewelry and accessories weren't really helping the look along much. This one was another miss for me.

Abigail Spencer in Jenny Packham
Abigail Spencer looked lovely in this glittery, ruffly, navy blue dress. It suits her slender frame well. Though dark in color, the whole look is coming off light and airy. The fabric is pretty and I liked the bodice, despite there being a lot going on - ruffles, sparkles, plunging v-neck, and netting. It surprisingly all comes together beautifully. Her snow white coloring, great hair and make-up, and pretty accessories and earrings pull the whole look together. Beautiful job, Abigail.

Constance Wu in J. Mendel
Constance Wu's gown was another one that looked gorgeous on stage, but is not coming off quite as good in pictures. The silhouette is different, and she is mostly pulling it off. It's right on the cusp of overwhelming her small frame though. She was right to keep her make-up and hair simple, as the busy dress doesn't need any distractions. The big hoop earrings and string necklace give it all a very 70's vibe. Mostly, though, I just loved the blue and black striped fabric-one of the most interesting of the night. Good job, Constance.

Laverne Cox in Naeem Khan
I feel a bit like broken record, but Lavern Cox's busy dress would have been vastly improved if it had been lined all the way to the floor. With the dress, hair, make-up, jewelry, nails, and clutch all essentially the same color, it's a bit too monotone for my tastes. Keep everything the same, but change the color of the dress (say black) and it would have been a much more striking look. This one was just okay for me.

Claire Danes in Schiapparelli
I almost loved everything about Claire Danes's golden gown. The color, shape, and fabric are all really cool and fresh. But, what's with that weird bit of fabric hanging from a change around her neck? That's a classic bit of overdesigning right there. The natural hair and make-up complicated the look well, but she's looking a bit orange, no? Overall though, I liked it. Good job, Claire.

Amy Poehler in Pamella Roland
I'm still on the fence about Amy Poehler's green dress here. I'm digging the capelet, even if it does make the dress look a bit matronly. I would have ditched the short necklace, bracelets, and clutch and gone for some sparkly chandelier earrings instead. There's enough going on around her neck and wrists that the jewelry is just getting lost. The color is what is really not working for me, though. The dress would have worked far better in a saturated jewel tone. Still, her hair and make-up look lovely and the whole look was different than any other of the night. Not bad, Amy.


AND FINALLY...

Sarah Paulson in Prada 
The moment I saw Sarah Paulson's glittery green gown I knew it was the one to beat. I love everything about this entire look. This gown is gorgeous! The color and bead work is insane - so sparkly! The silhouette is even better - long sleeves, squared shoulders, and the perfect plunging v-neck (notice it's not too wide). Top all that goodness off with a spectacularly styled head and a great pair of earrings. Love, love, love. Fantastic job, Sarah!

Alright, that wraps up the Pretty Handsome review of this year's Emmys. Who was your overall favorite?

All photos from here.

9.21.2016

2016 Emmys Fashion - Bold and Bright

Another big trend of the night were brightly colored dresses. Here we go!

Kate McKinnon
Kate McKinnon looked fabulous in this simple red column dress (couldn't find the designer). Normally I'd say this was a bit too casual for the event, but she totally sold it. The long and loose hair and bright red lips were all the accessories needed. Great job, Kate! (So glad she won too!)

Tatiana Maslany in Alexander Wang
Tatiana Maslany also sported a simple red column dress, but the cut-outs provided a bit more visual interest. Normally I'm not a fan of cut-outs, but I'm intrigued by these. Whatever is holding this dress together is perfectly invisible and creating a really fun illusion. The drop earrings and simple pulled back hair compliment the look well. Nice job, Tatiana! (Another one I was happy to see win!)

Priyanka Chopra in Jason Wu
Priyanka Chopra is so beautiful she really never looks bad in anything, and this time was no exception. The color looks gorgeous with her skin tone, and I loved the flowy silhouette. The bodice is a bit tricky design-wise, but that's my only critique. Perfect head styling as well. Lovely job, Priyanka.

Regina King in Elizabeth Kennedy
The silhouette of Regina King's gown was a great choice for her. The sweetheart neckline really showcases her beautiful shoulders and arms. You can't tell from this picture, but the train had an adorable bustle in the back that created a really dramatic silhouette too. Personally, I'm not in love with the orangey-red color, but it works for her. I would also have liked to see a touch more drama in the make-up. Overall though, good job, Regina.

Mandy Moore in Prabal Gurung
The statuesque Mandy Moore wore this orangey-yellow ruffle and tiered dress, and I think I like it! The color, which is a hard one to pull of, goes well with her coloring. I would have liked to see the lining go all the way down to the hem, and not too sure about the choice of the black clutch. Also, should she maybe have worn her hair up instead? I do love the current color of her hair though, and the make-up was working for me too. Good job, Mandy.

Taraji P. Henson in Vera Wang
Hmm...it took me a while to figure out what was off with Taraji P. Henson's dress, but I finally decided it was the spaghetti straps. I would have liked this look a lot better if it was strapless. As is, the straps are bringing the dress to the forefront and her face fades into the background (i.e. the dress is wearing her and not the other way around). The color works for her though, and I liked the shoes, jewelry, and accessories; but the casual hair and natural make-up didn't do anything for the overall look. I'm afraid this one was a miss for me. (Funnily enough, she changed her entire outfit to present later in the ceremony. That look was far better than this one - see here).

Angela Basset in Christian Siriano
Angela Basset opted for this dramatic yellow drapey number. This one looked really lovely on television, but it was hard to find a decent picture of it to showcase here. Sometimes dresses just look better live than photographed. I appreciated the boldness here - both in color and silhouette. She's definitely got enough diva in her to pull off this dramatic look. Nicely done, Angela!

Tina Fey in Oscar de la Renta
This is a good color for Tina Fey, and the simple silhouette works for her as well. The earrings and ring are too matchy-matchy though. She would have done better with some fun gold accents. The hair and face are good enough, but overall, this look was just okay in my book.

Shiri Appleby in Diane von Furstenberg
Shiri Appleby's bright blue column dress made me initially take notice, but upon closer inspection I'm not so sure it was a winner. The color and fabric are fabulous, and I loved the liquidity of the look. It's a skosh too long though, and the neckline far too wide. Also, the horizontal bands are somewhat ruining the waterfall effect. Still, it is striking and her hair, make-up, and jewelry all look pretty great as well. You get a pass, Shiri.

Melora Hardin
Melora Hardin looked spectacular in this bright blue column gown. It's a perfect fit, and I loved the little black accents on the sleeves. The clutch and cocktail ring complimented the look. I think I would have liked to see her hair down instead, but that's about all I'd change. Great job, Melora!

AND FINALLY...

Viola Davis in Marchesa
Viola Davis looked stunning in this fuchsia gown. What a great color for her! The shape really works for her, and the lacework on the neckline brings just the right amount of visual interest. Her hair, make-up, jewelry, and accessories all compliment the look well. Beautiful job, Viola!

What's your favorite from this group? I'll have one more post tomorrow featuring my favorite look of the night.  Stay tuned!

9.20.2016

2016 Emmys Fashion - Black And White

Black and white is always a classic. Let's take a look!

 Neve Campbell in Christian Siriano
Neve Campbell looked lovely in this black mermaid gown. The lace details on the bodice and hem keep it from being to boring, and I loved the sweetheart neckline and train. It was all styled well with simple accessories, hair, and make-up. Great job, Neve!

 Kirsten Dunst in Givenchy
I loved Kristen Dunst's dress and almost picked it as my favorite of this bunch. There's a lot of visual interest going on here. The satin and sequined structured top half fits perfect, but I think the neckline was a bit too broad. I also would have preferred to see the skirt lined in black. Overall, it was bold and daring (in a good way), and her hair and make-up really complimented the look well too. Nicely done, Kirsten.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Carolina Herrera
Julia Louis-Dreyfus defaulted to her usual awards show style. It's a pretty dress and flatters her, but ultimately comes off as tired when I've seen so many similar looks from her in the past. I liked the fabric, the leather belt detailing, and her hair and accessories all worked as well. Although a bolder lip color would have helped elevate the look. Overall, not bad, Julia. (Also, you're acceptance speech was the best of the night!)

Kerry Washington in Brandon Maxwell
I was digging Kerry Washington's goddess mother look. At first, I wasn't too sure about the cut-outs, but I actually think they are what makes the overall look. That and the hair, which was so perfect. She was right to keep the make-up and jewelry to a minimum. Nothing really needed when you have that perfect pregnancy glow. Beautiful job, Kerry!

 Maura Tierney in Christian Siriano
I applaud Maura for attempting the tea-length gown. It's simple, but the applique details keep it from being too boring. It's borderline twee though, and Maura doesn't quite strike me as a woman who does twee. If it were any other color than black, I don't think she could have pulled it off. Also, I think a different shoe than the basic black pump was called for here. Something strappy or that added a pop of color would have been more fun. Her head styling is pretty great though. Not bad, Maura.

Keri Russell in Stephane Rolland
Moving onto the white gowns, Keri Russell stepped out in this hybrid number - not quite a mini, not quite a gown. The top is too boxy and hides her figure. Then, the sheer train feels like an afterthought someone slapped on at the last minute. Her face is lovely, but the overall look was a miss for me.

Niecy Nash in Christian Siriano
Niecy Nash looked amazing in her white fitted dress. I love the stark white color, which looks gorgeous with her skin tone. The structured bodice fits her perfect, as does the fit overall. I probably would have done without the black clutch, and maybe a sparkly pendant instead of bracelets; but that's about all I would change. Great job, Niecy!  

Julie Bowen in Lela Rose
It's funny, I liked almost everything about Julie Bowen's look except for the dress. I liked the sixties bouffant hair, drop earrings, and gold clutch. But the creamy white of the dress washes her out, and it looks it feels like it is just sort of hanging off her. Basically, she's too thin for this silhouette, and needed less volume in her hair and more in the gown. As is, she's looking a bit like a lollipop. This one was just okay for me.

Tracee Ellis Ross in Ralph Lauren
Tracee Ellis Ross always looks so happy that it almost doesn't matter what she's wearing. Her white Grecian gown is pretty simple. I don't think it needed the cut-out, but that's more my  particular taste than anything else. Her sleek hair, simple make-up, and gorgeous earrings all compliment the look well. It's that smile that is really selling the look though. Great job, Tracee!

 Emmy Rossum in Wes Gordon
It doesn't get more basic than Emmy Rossum's white dress here. The slit is a little high, but other than that, it's not a bad looking dress. I wasn't loving the white shoes, nails, and earrings though. It definitely needed some contrasting elements. Metallic shoes, a pop of color on the nails, and some sparkly jewels would have really elevated the entire look. I did like her side-swept wavy hair and her face (as per usual) looked lovely. Just an okay look for me though.

AND FINALLY...

Michelle Dockery in Oscar de la Renta
There's so much to love about Michelle Dockery's gown. The white brocade fabric should make this dress feel really heavy, but the black piping, ruffles, tiered skirt, and hi-low hem all combine perfectly for a light and bouncy look. The strappy black shoes blend right in with the black piping throughout, and the black belt adds a touch of sparkle that grounds the entire look. The hair and jewelry compliment the look perfect, and I think hers may be the best make-up job of the night - loved that lip color. Absolutely gorgeous, Michelle!

What did you think of this bunch? Do you watch Veep? It's dominated the Emmy's the last few years. I may need to finally check that one out.

P.S.
2016 Emmys Fashion - Fun Florals

All pictures from here, except for Emmy Rossum's which was from here.

9.19.2016

2016 Emmys Fashion - Fun Florals

Did you watch the Emmy's last night? I DVR'd it, and then condensed the 3 hour ceremony into about an hour of actual viewing. It's crazy how long awards shows are.

Anyway, are you ready to talk fashion?

There were quite a few different trends on the red carpet last night, but one that delightfully surprised me was floral gowns!

Let's take a look.

Sarah Hyland in Monique Lhuillier
Sarah Hyland got her Auntie Mame look on in this embroidered strapless top and pants number. I thought this was a good look for her. She's someone who always looks way younger than she actually is (25 years old), so this more mature style actually aged her up in a good way. The floral embroidery on the bodice is lovely, and I liked the creamy white and black combo. I would have preferred if the top didn't split in two though. It would have been a much more dramatic look with a full train behind her instead. That's my only quibble though, and overall thought this was a really fun look. Nice job, Sarah!

Constance Zimmer in Monique Lhullier
I was actually digging the juxtaposition of Constance's soft pink and white gown against those dark blunt bangs of hers. The embroidery is really intricate and pretty, and I loved the overall silhouette of the gown for her petite frame - especially those cute little sleeves. The pink lip makes her entire face light up, and I loved the chunky ring and hard faceted bright pink clutch. Well done, Constance!

Alia Shawkat
Alia Shawkat's light chiffon floral dress felt a little too casual and off-season for the event. The spaghetti straps make for a wonky fitting bodice, but the bottom-half looks pretty good. The strappy sandals and gold clutch were cute accents as well. I'm not too familiar with Alia; but I have a feeling she's a bit on the casual and quirky side, and that maybe dressing up is not really her thing. In other words, the look suits her well, but as for an overall Emmy look...not so much. 

Maisie Williams in Markus Lupfer
I thought Maisie Williams' tea-length black dress with bold floral embroidery was super cute! It's such a great silhouette for her. I would have gone with a different color shoe, like red, to bring just a little more pop of color; but if she had to go black, at least she picked interesting ones. What I was really loving though was her hair! Those long bangs work really well on her face. Good job, Maisie! 

Felicity Huffman in Tony Ward
Felicity Huffman's white on nude gown isn't quite as true a floral as most of the others featured here, but I felt it still had the feel of one. This silhouette works well for her and really showcases her amazing arms. I was disappointed in the color choice for the dress though - or more accurately the lack of color choice. How great would all that tulle have been in black against maybe purple or blue floral instead of white? Overall, not a bad look, but a bit too safe for my tastes.

Jane Krakowski in Bibhu Mohapatra
Although I loved the color of Jane Krakowski's dress, the overall effect fell a bit flat. I'm good from the waist up, but couldn't get over the bubble belt, high slit, clashing shoes, and cheap looking train. Her face and make-up looked great though. There were just too many aspects that were "off" to save the overall look. Next time, Jane.

Nina Garcia in Valentino
The embroidery on Nina Garcia's gown was just stunning! There's so much visual interest here that even if you're not a fan of the prairie-gown silhouette (which I'm not) you can't help but appreciate the beauty of the intricate detail work. Her long loose waves and simple make-up really complimented the look well. Very nice, Nina!


AND FINALLY...

Kristen Bell in Zuhair Murad
I just about died when I saw Kristen Bell in this gorgeous tropical floral gown. The colors and design are spectacular. I loved the full ballgown silhouette combined with the plunging neckline. It made for a really dramatic look. Her hair, make-up, and jewelry were all stunning and accented the look beautifully. This was, by far, one of the best looks of the entire night. Well done, Kristen!!

What did you think of all the floral? What was your favorite look among these? What was your favorite look of the night? Let's talk dresses!!

Photos of Alia Shawkat, Maisie Williams, Felicity Huffman, and Jane Krakowski from here.
Photos of Sarah Hyland, Constance Zimmer, Nina Garcia, and Kristen Bell from here

9.16.2016

Disney Project - Treasure Island

It's been ages since I did a Disney Project post. If you're unfamiliar, I'm a big Disney movie fan and thought it would be fun to watch them all in chronological order because...well...basically, I'm a big nerd.

So, next up on the list was the 1950's classic, Treasure Island!
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's beloved novel, Treasure Island is the tale of young Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll) who discovers a treasure map and soon sets sail with the likes of Long John Silver (Robert Newton) on an exciting and dangerous treasure hunt.

Did you know Monday is Talk Like A Pirate Day? It totally is, so do me a favor before you read any further. I want you to talk like a pirate. I'm serious, in your head or out loud, just talk like a pirate. You know the voice you just did? The "Arrgh, matey" in that oh so familiar pirate accent...well, you have this movie to thank for that.

Or more precisely, you have Robert Newton to thank for it. You see, you're not doing an impression of a pirate. You're doing an impression of Robert Newton's portrayal of Long John Silver from this film.

Seriously, as I was watching the film I could not get over Long John Silver's voice. It was so dead-on "pirate-talk" that mid-movie I was googling it to get some answers. That lead me to this interesting article. To summarize it though, Treasure Island was aired a lot on Saturday mornings back in the 1950's. Thus, an entire generation of kids watched it, and when they played pirates they'd mimic Long John Silver from the film. Then, those kids grew up and when they played pirates with their kids, they taught them that same voice, and so on. Here we are some 60+ years later, and we all now know exactly how to talk like a pirate thanks to Robert Newton.

Now you all have a fun little fact to share come Monday for Talk Like A Pirate Day. Arrgh!!!

Have a great weekend!

9.14.2016

Book Report - Star Sand

I picked Roger Pulver's, Star Sand as my next free monthly book offered through my Amazon Prime membership.
A diary found alongside three skeletal remains tells the story of Hiromi, a Japanese-American, who at sixteen years old is separated from her family while living in Japan during World War II. One day while collecting star sand on the beach, she discovers two deserters living in a hidden cave by the shore. One Japanese and one American, they don't speak the same language, but are both disheartened and weary from their time as soldiers and have agreed to hide together peacefully in the cave. Hiromi, being fluent in both Japanese and English, starts caring for the men and soon friendships are formed between the three. A new threat emerges though, when a fourth person is brought into the cave. The diary abruptly ends shortly thereafter, leaving the fate of the cave dwellers a mystery begging to be solved.

Sounds intriguing, right?

Unfortunately, I did not like this book at all. Even though it was only about 200 pages, it took me forever to get through it. Nothing was ever drawing me back to it each day, and it soon became a chore or a read. I had no vested interest in the characters and after a while, found the whole thing rather dull.

The first two sections of the book are told from Hiromi's perspective - as if you're reading her diary. The last is told from the prospective of the woman who finds the journal in the present day, and the switch was really jarring.

After you find out who lived and who died in the cave, there's one final twist; but it falls completely flat as there is absolutely no hint of what they reveal as ever being a remote possibility at all. I literally was like, "Wait, what?" Thank goodness that was right at the very end because I was ready to completely abandon the book when that doozy popped up out of nowhere. With just a few pages left though, I dutifully continued on to the end.

I'm not one to not finish I book I start, but if I weren't that sort of person; I almost certainly would have quit Star Sand. Hopefully this review will save you the trouble of ever even starting it in the first place.

9.12.2016

Teeny Tiny Tables

The more I looked this wall in Seamus' room, the more I thought it still looked unfinished. He needed something on either side of the bed to help ground the whole look. I started hunting for something that would work as nightstands for his super low toddler bed.
I really wanted to get these for each side of the bed, but couldn't get over the $99 per price tag. There was no way I was going to spend $200 to achieve the balance I was looking for. That seemed a bit steep for transitional furniture.

Enter IKEA!

I spotted these little stools in the IKEA catalog and thought they would work perfectly as little side tables. Turns out, I was right!
They're the perfect scale/shape to add the balance I was looking for, and are really functional too. Perfect to hold those couple of items every little boy needs by their bed, and you can easily tuck a couple of books underneath as well. 
I'm keeping the natural wood look for now to go with his new dresser (see here).

I'm also working on getting art up on the walls to finish up his room. Seamus' might end up being the first fully completed room in the house!

9.09.2016

Paint Procrastination

Over Labor Day weekend, we finally painted the kitchen! We had a last minute change of plans on the color though. We had previously picked out Benjamin Moore Beach Plum (see here), but for some reason, I still couldn't pull the trigger.

I decided it was time to just ask an expert - enter Decorist. If you're not familiar, Decorist is an online interior design website. For flat fees, real designers will work with you online and help you design your home. It's a great service I hope to utilize fully one day; but what I really love (and have done a couple of times now) is that you can just ask a question for free and a designer will get back to you within a day with an answer. Any random design question you have, they'll answer it. How cool is that?

So, I asked for some paint color recommendations that would work with the new color of the cabinets (Benjamin Moore Stone Harbor) that were bright and cheerful. They came back with three recommendations, and Bill and I both liked one of them - Benjamin Moore's Barely Teal.
I had tried more than 10 different samples previously, and couldn't make up my mind before this. So, before I could think about it too much, I decided to just buy the color and paint already. Sometimes you just need someone else to make decisions for you, and for some odd reason, this was one of those times for me.

Bill primed over the old green color that was above the cabinets and all my different paint samples, and the next night we got to work. (We actually used this paint and just color matched it.)

I'm happy to report the color turned out great! 
More importantly though, it just finally got painted.
Who knows if this will be the forever color or not, but it's one more thing checked off the list.
And we're finally closing in on the finish.
Remember what it used to look like?
It's crazy what a coat of paint can do.

Here's my list of what still needs to be done.
- Trim out the big window.
- Paint trim (base board on the right and new window trim of both windows)
- New light fixture
- New faucet and reverse osmosis faucet
- New outlet covers (I've decided to do gold instead of white)
- New (smaller/slimmer) garbage/recycle bins
- New window treatments (either make valances or buy new shades/blinds)
- New artwork to hang between the windows

Geesh, well maybe we're not quite almost done, but the big, labor intensive work is just about done. We're finally getting down to the fun stuff! My goal is to have it completely done by the end of the year. You know, because we only started it in February!!

You can catch up on the entire kitchen refresh by checking out any of the links below. Enjoy!
Picking A Paint Color

Just for the record, this was not a paid for or sponsored post (I wish). I just think this is a good service, so I wanted to share.