Jan 10, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year-2013

Now that all those Christmas shenanigans are over with, we can get down to the most wonderful time of the year: no family drama, no fighting crowds at the mall, just movie nights and pretty dresses.

The Oscar noms came out today, kicking off my busy season. Luckily, I made some good movie choices over the past few months, and don't have to repeat Oscar Season 2009 (so. many. movies. so. little.time.)

Two bits of Oscar nomination education before we get started:

1. Actors choose to submit themselves for categories. When it comes time to submit candidates for award season, actors sit down with their agents and studio reps and decide what they will submit their name for. So if someone is nominated as a supporting actor when they're the main person in the movie, it was their decision. Odds are, they thought they had a better chance in a "lesser" category, or they've recently won an Oscar for the big prize. So no actor is "snubbed" for getting nominated in the supporting category--they chose to be. (This rant is sponsored by a radio DJ who said that Anne Hathaway was "totally dissed" by being nominated for best supporting actress for Les Mis. Pfff.)

2. Best Picture is the weirdest category ever. No one nominates one movie for Best Picture, you rank your top 10 movies of the year. The movie with the most number one votes gets nominated, then the movie with the second most votes, etc. This goes on until they get to movies that have less than 5% of #1 votes. The least number that can be nominated is five (no idea what they do if there are something like 30 movies nominated that all get 3% of the vote, I don't pay attention to the rules that closely), and the most is ten. Since they started this system, the typical Best Picture pool is seven. This year there are nine. Mixing it up, Academy!

You can find the full list of nominations here.

My initial thoughts:

--Poor Ben Affleck. No best director nom for him. Argo is really a fantastic movie, and he did a meticulous job directing it. I think the problem with this is that Hollywood still sees him as a pretty boy actor who dated J Lo and happens to direct a good movie every now and then. Thus they're not taking him seriously as a director, which he's phenomenal at.

--The best supporting actor race is such a snoozefest. All of the actors have Oscars already, three of whom won in the past decade, two of whom won this exact award. Can we spread the wealth a bit, Academy?

--Poor Amy Adams. This is her fourth Best Supporting Actress nomination (Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, and now The Master) and I don't think she's going to get it this time. She's always great in a year where someone else is amazing. She's my birthday buddy, so I feel a special connection to her.

--I'm really looking forward to an Alias reunion on the red carpet, when Jennifer Garner (attending with hubby Ben Affleck) runs into Bradley Cooper (nominated for Best Actor for Silver Linings Playbook). They were besties on Alias and reportedly good friends in real life. That's a Kodak moment I'm waiting for.

Dec 26, 2012

Holiday Jingle Jangle

This time of year, I start rummaging through the center console of my car (aka, the black hole of CDs) looking for any of the holiday CDs I've made in years past. Once I exhaust that search, I usually turn to my iPod playlist entitled "Christmas" (clever, I know), but there are a few songs on there that I'm sick of now.

So when I saw this bracket of the worst Christmas songs ever, I had to agree with most of it.

Christmas Shoes literally makes my ears bleed. The worst is when I'm in a store and don't have the ability to turn it off. Ugh.

I also hate many of the "classics": Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, and Feliz Navidad.

But before you go and think I'm a grinch, I also love such goodies as Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time, Last Christmas, I Want a Hippopotamus, Chipmunk Song, etc.

Since I celebrate Christmas through the new year, I'll be listening to some of these jams throughout the next week. Yeeaah.

Dec 11, 2012

TV Tuesday: Toga! Toga!

I realize some things are only entertaining if you can relate (devil's advocate: The Hangover will be forever hilarious and I haven't had a crazy night in Vegas like that, yet)

However, I think everyone will be entertained by the (now over) ABC Family show Greek.

Yes, I was in a sorority and so I identify with some parts of the show--rush, the stresses of being an officer, sisters getting a little crazy at a party--but a lot of it is ABC Family classic over-dramatization of things (See also: Secret Life of the American Teenager, oy)

However, thanks to the joys of Netflix, I'm catching back up on Greek, and it's literally like being in my happy place. Episode of Breaking Bad got you down? Go hang out at the Zeta Beta Zeta house for a bit. Need something playing in the background while making Nutella cookies for co-workers' Christmas presents? How 'bout you do that while watching the CRU kiddos get crazy in Myrtle Beach for Spring Break?

Just saying, college only lasted four years, but with Greek you can at least take a trip down Memory Lane.

Dec 10, 2012

"I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes . . ."

I've only met one person who doesn't like Love, Actually (and it's my BF, lucky me . . .). It's pretty much required viewing at this time of year. So I was happy to see a great article in Entertainment Weekly about the lasting power of this crowd-pleaser. Summary below:

--It didn't get great reviews when it first cam out.
--It only grossed $59 million (in other words less than half of what the last Twilight movie made opening weekend)
--Taylor Swift lists it as her favorite movie.
--The "cult of Love, Actually seems doubly remarkable given how bleak so much of it is." So true when you think about it: Liam Neeson is a grieving widower, Keira Knightley's new husband's best friend is obsessed with her, Colin Firth is cheated on with his BROTHER, Snape cheats on Trelawney, and Laura Linney puts her violent, unstable brother above her own wants and needs.
--The director gives all the credit to his casting director and people who gave him advice about casting. Which, when you think about it, is really what makes the movie. That and this:

Also, I will walk down the aisle at my wedding to this:

Nov 16, 2012

Here Comes the Bride(smaid)

I'm sorry, that photo will make me laugh for years to come . . .

But I digress. I don't consider myself an expert on this, but around my office I've become a bit of a source on being on the B team for weddings. While it's been made fun of in various movies, chic lit novels, and Halloween costumes, I have to say being a bridesmaid is a lot of fun and not at all emotionally scarring.

Thanks for making this look like hell, Katherine Heigl

That being said, here are the pros and cons of being a bridesmaid. We'll start with the cons to end on a high note:
--It can be expensive. Throwing showers, buying presents, throwing a bachelorette party, travel expenses, buying a dress etc. Just saying, save up now. And register your credit card with an airline miles program, maybe you can get your ticket to the wedding for free!

--It can drain your schedule. You're looking at least three weekends with some sort of wedding activity.

--It can be tough to put things into perspective: Unless you're married or have thought a lot about your wedding, you probably don't have an opinion (or a clue) about linen quality or the best price for wedding favors. So the wedding chatter can seem a little boring (is there a difference between ecru and off-white colored paper?) and make you seriously consider eloping when your time comes.

--It can make you sad: whether you think your time will never come, or are worried about how your friendship will make this transition, weddings can make you a bit wistful and mopey.

Things that are awesome about being a bridesmaid:
--Um, you're kind of a big deal at the wedding and reception. People will want to talk to you about the happy couple (b/c you're obviously in the know), bartenders will add a little extra kick to your drinks, and the photographer will know you by name.

--Primping like it's prom: Who doesn't want to recreate the getting ready fun times you had in high school and college? You can totally get a Facebook profile pic out of this.

--Quality time: you've been to a wedding where you get five seconds of time with the bride, just long enough to shriek how great she looks and take a pic with six other sorority sisters. But when you're on the B team, you're practically joined at the hip with the bride. Your memories will extend beyond the reading of "Love is patient, love is kind" and dancing to "SHOUT!" at the reception.

--The groomsmen: Ok, so I speak from personal experience on this one, but hey, if you're single, they're single, and you're spending a ton of time together when everyone's in a jovial mood, sparks may fly . . .

--The dress: love it or hate it, that dress will be a great addition to your closet. If it's stylish, it becomes your go-to nice dress. If it's not your style, I'm sure it can be revamped as a costume in the future.


Nov 13, 2012

TV Tuesday: Winter is Coming

Tell me a TV series is Lord of the Rings with a medieval twist, and I can't change the channel fast enough. Throw in regular decapitations, incest, and children in peril, and I pretty much knew I would hate Game of Thrones.

You know how that goes. . . I love it. I watched the entire second season (10 episodes) in less than 48 hrs. From thinking Peter Dinklage is the best thing ever to wanting a direwolf as a pet, I am head over heels obsessed with this show. Unfortunately, season three comes out in March. That's a nine-month delay between visits to Westeros and (ugh) Vaes Dothrak.

Oct 18, 2012

More Questiones

This time stolen from Blair's Head Band, a new blog in my reading list:

If you were forced to spend the rest of your life in a library, a museum, or a zoo, which would you choose and why? The bibliophile in me is screaming not only "library" but also specific branches. Next.

2. What is the best piece of advice you've received from a parent/your parents?
I can't say we're an advice-heavy family, so I'll say the best piece of advice I've heard is "You regret what you didn't do, not what you did," I'd like to add the caveat: for the most part :-)

3. If you could get a guest role on any TV show (NOT reality show), what would it be?
Does this show still have to be on TV? Because right now it would be Friday Night Lights or Gilmore Girls.

4. What are the three things you would grab from your home during an emergency (fire, tornado, other tragic event)?
Geraldine, obvs, my laptop, and my Royal Wedding commemorative plate. (Totally kidding, mostly . . .)

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy. Which is only sold in B&J stores. Which is a good thing for my waistline.

6. Would you rather get a facial or a massage at a spa?
Having JUST got a facial, where I actually cried (a story for another post, if I can ever talk about it), a massage x 100000000

7. What is the #1 item on your holiday wish list this year?
Just a bunch of giftcards. Lame, I know.

8. Imagine you have your own fashion line - which supermodel would you pick to represent your brand?
Um, is it bad that I don't know any supermodels anymore? If I had to pick someone famous, it'd be Kate Middleton.

9. If you could afford and purchase one famous piece of art, what would it be?
Not to be so cliche, but I really do love Starry Night by Van Gogh.

10. If you could choose any name for yourself other than yours, what would it be?
Alexandra (the nicknames are endless--Alex, Alli, Andi) and some last name ending in a "ington"

11. If you could be on the cover of any magazine, which publication would it be and why?
Real Simple. Which is impractical because they never have people on the cover, but I love that magazine so much that I would freak out if I was on the cover.

Oct 16, 2012

Oh, Six-Year-Old Me

Last week was International Day of the Girl (um, or something like that), trying to raise awareness of the plight of girls who are sold into marriage. Because of that, many high-profile women wrote letters to their younger selves. Since I am obviously high-profile (to my mother at least), I thought of the following advice I'd give to the six-year-old me. Isn't she cute? That was about two years before the first awkwardness set in, and also two years before my school adopted uniforms (coincidence? I think not):

Oh, six-year-old Laurel. You're kind of awesome. Life's pretty great right now. You're at a new school and, guess what, you'll be there for eight years and pretty much love each year. Although you will be very ready to leave when 8th grade ends. But for now, Go Panthers!

Now for the bad news. Glasses. They're coming. In about three years. Start talking up contacts right away. It'll take seven years to get them if you don't. And don't use your glasses as an excuse for things. No one else does.

Also, start to get into volleyball. This whole soccer thing isn't going to stick. But you'll end up being pretty tall and that makes for a great volleyball player. So start to pay attention to that. But because you're so tall, they won't have shorts for you to wear, so start shopping for new ones now.

I know you really want a dog, and, surprise! You're getting one next year. And he will be perfect, so just sit back; he's worth the wait and will become one of the dearest parts of your life.

And I'm glad you love visiting family in Nebraska! The farm is a little slice of heaven, and the family up there can't be beat. But I have one word for you: Runza. Start eating them now, not when you're 13 and Nancy first introduces you to it.

So sit back and enjoy Miss Mueller's class. Your love of reading that just started will stay with you for the rest of your life, so keep it up (though I know you do) and start reading a little series called "The Baby-Sitters Club", trust.

Catch ya on the flip side,


Oct 9, 2012

TV Tuesday: Cheerio

Most people couldn't believe I wasn't watching Downton Abbey given my intense love of all things British. I have bobbleheads of William and Kate on my desk, I have a decorative plate from their wedding, I swoon at British accents, I would trade my U.S. citizenship for British in a heartbeat.
If you're in need of a quiet weekend in, go ahead and rent the first two seasons of Downton and thank me later. No matter what you're looking for in a show, Downton has it, and it all seems much more refined when you throw in titles and British accents. Then you get to join the elite group of people who are on Team Bates, clapped like giddy schoolchildren at the Christmas special, and knew that Mr. Pamouk would come back to haunt us. "And what is a weekend?"